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Sustainability Criteria for the Renewables Obligation

From October 2013, generating stations of 1 megawatt (MW) capacity and above have been required to meet the following sustainability criteria in order to receive Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) under the RO:

1) Green House Gas Savings

Biomass electricity must produce over 70% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuel alternatives.

2) Land Use Criteria

The 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.

From April 2015, the biomass industry will be required to demonstrate their fuel is sustainable or lose financial support under the RO.

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.

Generators of 1MW capacity and above must provide an independent sustainability audit with their annual sustainability report.

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