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Renewables obligation certificate

Renewables Obligation Scotland (ROS)

The Renewables Obligation Scotland (ROS) was the main support scheme for large scale renewable electricity projects across Scotland. It provided revenue support for biomass electricity generation.

The scheme is no longer open for new contracts but the UK Government have introduced Contracts for Difference (CfD). See here for more info.

Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs)

The ROS places an obligation on UK suppliers of electricity to source a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources, through Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

This proportion increases each year and the Obligation level for supplies to customers in Scotland for the period from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018 will be 0.409 ROCs per MWh (megawatt hour). For information on the current value of Renewable Obligation Certificates, click here.

A ROC is a green certificate issued to an accredited generator for eligible renewable electricity. The electricity needs to be generated within the UK and supplied to UK customers.

From February 2013 the Scottish Government imposed an upper limit 10 MW installed capacity ceiling for ROS support for wood-fuelled dedicated biomass (power) generating stations. Stations above this ceiling will only qualify for ROCs during any period where they are accredited as a good quality Combined Heat and Power (CHP) station.

A new renewable CHP installation currently has two options through which to receive support:

Sustainability Reporting

Since 1 April 2011, biomass electricity generators over 50KW have been required to report against the following sustainability criteria:

  • Minimum 60% GHG emission saving for electricity generation using solid biomass or biogas relative to fossil fuel
  • General restrictions on using materials sourced from land with high biodiversity value or high carbon stock - including primary forest, peatland and wetlands.

Following a 2-year transition period, it is intended that from October 2013 generating stations of 1 megawatt (MW) capacity and above will be required to meet the criteria in order to receive Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) under the RO.

Under changes announced on 23rd August 2013, to ensure the sustainability of wood-fuel used to create energy, Biomass electricity will produce over 70% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuel alternatives.  From April 2015, the biomass industry will be required to demonstrate their fuel is sustainable or lose financial support under the RO.

The new criteria for sustainable forest management are based on a range of issues such as:

  • sustainable harvesting rates
  • biodiversity protection and
  • land use rights for indigenous populations.

Organisations who do not comply with the new requirements could see financial support withheld.

All generators of 1 Megawatt (MW) capacity or more using solid biomass or biogas feedstock will be required to demonstrate that they are meeting the criteria in order to claim support under the Renewables Obligation. This would cover around 98% of all biomass power generation in the UK.

On 23rd August 2013, a new requirement for generators of 1MW capacity and above to provide an independent sustainability audit with their annual sustainability report was also announced.

For further information on the August 2013 announcement, click here.

Ofgem has produced guidance on how to comply with sustainability criteria, for further information click here.

Further information-Renewables Obligation Banding Review

Summary of Supplementary Consultation Outcomen (Parts B-D) and Scottish Government Response