Renewables Obligation (United Kingdom)

The Renewables Obligation (RO)[1] is designed to encourage generation of electricity from eligible renewable sources in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in England and Wales and in a different form (the Renewables Obligation (Scotland)) in Scotland in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in April 2005, replacing the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation which operated from 1990.[2]

The RO places an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers in the United Kingdom to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources, similar to a renewable portfolio standard. In 2010/11 it is 11.1% (4.0% in Northern Ireland). This figure was initially set at 3% for the period 2002/03 and under current political commitments will rise to 15.4% (6.3% in Northern Ireland) by the period 2015/16 and then it runs until 2037 (2033 in Northern Ireland). The extension of the scheme from 2027 to 2037 was declared on 1 April 2010 and is detailed in the National Renewable Energy Action Plan.[3] Since its introduction the RO has more than tripled the level of eligible renewable electricity generation (from 1.8% of total UK supply to 7.0% in 2010).

The Renewable Obligation scheme

Suppliers meet their obligations by presenting Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to Ofgem. Where suppliers do not have sufficient ROCs to cover their obligation, a payment is made into the buy-out fund. The buy-out price suppliers pay is a fixed price per MWh shortfall and is adjusted in line with the Retail Prices Index each year. The proceeds of the buy-out fund are paid back to suppliers in proportion to how many ROCs they have presented. For example, if they were to submit 5% of the total number of ROCs submitted they would receive 5% of the total funds that defaulting supply companies pay into the buy-out fund.

ROCs are intended to create a market, and be traded at market prices that differ from the official buy-out price. If there is an excess of renewable production, beyond the supplier obligation, the price of ROCs would fall below the buy-out price. The price of ROCs could approach zero if renewable and non-renewable generation costs became similar, when there would be little or no subsidy of renewable generation. If there is less renewable production than the obligation, the price of ROCs would increase above the buy-out price, as purchasers anticipate later payments from the buy-out fund on each ROC.[4]

Obligation periods run for one year, beginning on 1 April and running to 31 March. Supply companies have until the 31 August following the period to submit sufficient ROCs to cover their obligation, or to submit sufficient payment to the buy-out fund to cover the shortfall.

The cost of ROCs is effectively paid by electricity consumers of supply companies that fail to present sufficient ROCs, whilst reducing the cost to consumers of supply companies who submit large numbers of ROCs, assuming that all costs and savings are passed on to consumers.

Percentages and prices by year

Obligation period % of Supply Buy Out Price (£/MWh) Effective Price per Unit (p/kWh)
1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003 3.0 £30.00 0.09
1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004 4.3 £30.51 0.13
1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005 4.9 £31.39 0.15
1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 5.5 £32.33 0.18
1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007 6.7 £33.24 0.22
1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 7.9 £34.30 0.29
1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 9.1 £35.76 0.33
1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 9.7 £37.19 0.36
1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 11.1 £36.99 0.41
1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 12.4 £38.69 0.48
1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 15.8 £40.71 0.64
1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 20.6 £42.02 0.87
1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 24.4 £43.30 1.06
1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 29.0 £44.33 1.29
1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 34.8 £44.77 1.56
1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 40.9 £45.58 1.86

Sources:[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Certificates

A ROC is the green certificate issued for eligible renewable electricity generated within the United Kingdom and supplied to customers in the United Kingdom by a licensed supplier. ROCs are issued by Ofgem to accredited renewable generators (or in the case of generating stations subject to a NFFO (non-fossil fuels obligation), Scottish Renewables Obligation or Northern Ireland NFFO contract, to the nominated electricity supplier). It is worth noting that the Scottish Renewables Obligation was superseded by the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) in 2002.

The default is that one ROC is issued for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of eligible renewable output. Some technologies get more, some less. For instance, offshore wind installations receive 2 ROCs per MWh;[14] onshore wind installations receive 0.9 ROCs per MWh and sewage gas-fired plants receive half a ROC per MWh.

ROCs are issued into the ROC Register and so are electronic certificates. Normally, a renewable generator will transfer the related ROCs through Ofgem's electronic registry when it sells power to an electricity supplier.

The legislation

The Utilities Act 2000 gives the Secretary of State the power to require electricity suppliers to supply a certain proportion of their total sales in the United Kingdom from electricity generated from renewable sources. A Renewables Obligation Order is issued annually detailing the precise level of the obligation for the coming year-long period of obligation and the level of the buy-out price. The Renewables Obligation (England and Wales) was introduced by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) was introduced by the Scottish Executives and the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation was introduced by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETINI). The Orders were subject to review in 2005/06 and new Orders came into effect on 1 April 2006. The relevant pieces of legislation for the period April 2006 – March 2007 are:

  • The Renewables Obligation Order 2006 (Statutory Instrument (SI) 2006 No. 1004)
  • The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2006 (SI 2006 No. 173), and
  • The Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2006 (SI 2006 No. 56).

All pieces of legislation are published on the National Archives legislation site.[15]

Ofgem's role

Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets in Great Britain. The Orders detail Ofgem's powers and functions to administer the Renewables Obligation. These functions include:

  • Accrediting generating stations as being capable of generating electricity from eligible renewable sources
  • Issuing ROCs and revoking these as necessary
  • Establishing and maintaining a Register of ROCs
  • Monitoring compliance with the requirements of the Orders
  • Calculating annually the buy-out price
  • Receiving buy-out payments and redistributing the buy-out fund
  • Receiving late payments and redistributing the late payment fund, and
  • Publishing an annual report on the operation of and compliance with the requirements of the Orders.

Ofgem also administers the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) on behalf of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation (NIAER).

Types of energy eligible

The following sources of electricity are eligible for ROCs:

Co-firing of biomass is also eligible. Not all technologies which are eligible will actually be supported due to cost. Some renewable sources of electricity are not eligible for ROCs (e.g. larger hydroelectric schemes which were in operation before April 2002).

Government review

The obligation was reviewed by government[16] following a consultation period that finished in September 2007. The document at the centre of the consultation set out an amended form of the RO which will see different technologies earn different numbers of ROCs. This has not yet been adopted as policy.

On 22 January 2007, Ofgem called for the Renewables Obligation to be replaced, claiming that the scheme is a 'very costly way' of supporting renewable electricity generation.[17] In particular they are concerned that electricity customers pay for renewables projects even if they are not built due to problems obtaining planning permission, and the failure of the Renewables Obligation to link financial support for renewables to either the electricity price or the price of renewables in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

The British Wind Energy Association, whose members are major beneficiaries of the existing scheme, claims that Ofgem is partly responsible for the costs because it has failed to prioritise work on the National Grid which would allow more renewable capacity to be connected. They also stressed the need to maintain stability in the marketplace to maintain the confidence of investors.[18]

The concerns of both bodies seem to be shared by the Renewable Energy Association.[19]

The Scottish Wind Assessment Project has criticised the scheme for rewarding reductions in renewable electricity output: two electricity suppliers, Scottish and Southern Energy and Npower, down-rated several large hydro-power stations in order to qualify for Renewables Obligation Certificates.[20]

Banding

The Renewables Obligation represents the UK Government's main policy measure for stimulating the growth of electricity generation from renewable sources.[21] The Government envisages that 30% of electricity demand will need to be generated by renewable sources[22] in order for the UK to meet a legally binding EU target of obtaining 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The Renewables Obligation is a market-based mechanism designed to incentivise the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources over more traditional alternatives at a reasonable cost.

When it was first introduced in 2002, each form of renewable energy technology received the same level of support, namely one ROC/MWh of electricity generated. This was a conscious decision as the Government was keen to promote a market-led approach, emphasising competition between technologies to minimise cost, and did not want to distort the market by appearing to place the importance of certain technologies above others.[23]

As a result, whilst being ostensibly technology-neutral, the Renewables Obligation in its original form in fact favoured the deployment of the more established, near-market technologies such as landfill gas and onshore wind, those which were most economically efficient, over less well developed technologies that were further from commercial viability.[24]

A review of the performance of the Renewables Obligation was announced in 2003. Modelling of future deployment scenarios indicated that targets would not be met with current levels of support due to constraints on the availability and deployment of the most established technologies. A significant contribution would therefore be required from less mature technologies which lacked sufficient incentive to develop into feasible alternatives under the original scheme.[25]

The Government announced its intention to reform the Renewables Obligation in 2006. Banding was introduced in 2009 to provide differing levels of support to groups of technologies depending upon their relative maturity, development cost and associated risk.[21] Whilst increasing the incentive for technologies in the early stages of development this also allowed the level of support for well established technologies to be reduced to avoid over-subsidisation.

In reforming the Renewables Obligation in this way, and scheduling regular future reviews, the Government recognised that the market would not deliver the mix of renewable energy generation required to meet the targets if the incentives remained technology-neutral. It was therefore necessary for the Government to perform a continuing strategic role and retain the capability to intervene if necessary.[26] The introduction of banding allowed the Government to steer industry towards investment in less well developed forms of renewable energy to enable them to contribute to meeting the long-term targets, rather than concentrating investment in technologies that are economically favourable in the short-term.

The Government has reviewed the banding levels for appropriate incentives for the period 2013–2017. These bands include a reduction in the tariff for onshore wind to 0.9 ROCs/MWh and an increase for small wave and tidal stream projects, under 30 MW, to 5 ROCs/MWh.[27]

Electricity market reform and future

The UK Government has proposed wide-ranging reforms to the UK electricity market which will eventually see feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference (CfD) replace the Renewables Obligation as the main renewable generation support mechanism.[28] Unlike ROCs, CfDs will also be available to generators of nuclear electricity.

Other than with respect to large scale (>5MW) solar photovoltaic power projects and onshore wind power projects, the Renewables Obligation will remain open to new generation until 31 March 2017, allowing new renewable generation that comes online between 2014 (when it is anticipated the CfDs will start) and 2017 to choose between CfDs and ROCs. After that date, the government intends to close the Renewables Obligation to new generation and ‘vintage’ existing ROCs, meaning that levels and length of support for existing participants in the Renewables Obligation will be maintained.

However, the government subsequently announced that it would bring forward the deadline for Renewables Obligation accreditation for large scale (>5MW) solar photovoltaic power projects, to 1 April 2015.[29] The government further announced on 18 June 2015 that it intended to close the Renewables Obligation to new onshore wind power projects on 1 April 2016 (bringing the deadline forward by one year).[30]

In addition to the introduction of feed-in tariffs, the UK Government's proposed electricity market reform included two further initiatives to encourage the decarbonisation of electricity generation: a Carbon Price Floor and an Emissions Performance Standard.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ofgem and ROC Ofgem: What is the Renewables Obligation
  2. ^ "Renewable Energy" (PDF). Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. October 2001. postnote 164. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "eRoc FAQs". Non-Fossil Purchasing Agency. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  5. ^ Ofgem First annual report 2002/2003 on Renewable Obligation
  6. ^ Ofgem Second annual report 2003/2004 on Renewable Obligation
  7. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING
  8. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2010–11
  9. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2011–12
  10. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2012–13
  11. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2013–14
  12. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2014–15
  13. ^ THE RENEWABLES OBLIGATION BUY–OUT PRICE AND MUTUALISATION CEILING 2016–17
  14. ^ Collins, Peter. Renewables Obligation: Guidance for licensed electricity suppliers page 2 Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), 22 April 2010. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ Government sums don't add up on renewable energy. Renewableuk.com, 5 January 2007
  17. ^ Ofgem puts forward new approach to funding green generation. Ofgem Press Release, 22 January 2007
  18. ^ Ofgem calls for an end to the Renewables Obligation. Green Building Press, n.d. (Archived by archive.org first on 25 Jun 2007)
  19. ^ The Regulator criticises the Renewables Obligation – REA responds. Renewable Energy Association, 23 January 2007
  20. ^ Subsidies and Subterfuge – Hydro-power and the Renewables Obligation. The Scottish Wind Assessment Project, June 2005
  21. ^ a b DTI. (2007). ‘Reform of the Renewables Obligation’, May 2007
  22. ^ DECC. (2010). ‘National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the United Kingdom’
  23. ^ Wood, G. and Dow, S. (2011). ‘What lessons have been learned in reforming the Renewables Obligation? An analysis of internal and external failures in UK renewable energy policy’, Energy Policy, 39(5), 2228–2244.
  24. ^ Foxon, T.J. and Pearson, P.J.G. (2007). ‘Towards improved policy processes for promoting innovation in renewable electricity technologies in the UK’, Energy Policy, 35(3), 1539–1550.
  25. ^ Wood, G. and Dow, S. (2010). ‘The likely impact of reforming the Renewables Obligation on renewables targets’, International Journal of Energy Sector Management, 4(2), 273–301.
  26. ^ Woodman, B. and Mitchell, C. (2011). ‘Learning from experience? The development of the Renewables Obligation in England and Wales 2002–2010’, Energy Policy, 39(7), 3914–3921.
  27. ^ "Renewable energy to bring £25bn of investment into uk economy – Davey". DECC. July 2012. Press Notice 2012/086. Archived from the original on 2012-12-17. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  28. ^ http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/meeting-energy-demand/energy-markets/7090-electricity-market-reform-policy-overview-.pdf
  29. ^ "Renewables update: Renewables Obligation to close to large-scale solar - Energy & Natural Resources Sector Expert Insights - Renewables Sector Expert Insights - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP". www.blplaw.com.
  30. ^ "Changes to onshore wind subsidies protect investment and get the best deal for bill payers".

External links

British Energy Efficiency Federation

The British Energy Efficiency Federation (or BEEF) was founded in 1996 by the United Kingdom Government to provide a forum for consultation between existing industry associations in the energy sector.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (the CRC, formerly the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is a mandatory carbon emissions reduction scheme in the United Kingdom that applies to large energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. It has been estimated that the scheme will reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020. In an effort to avoid dangerous climate change, the British Government first committed to cutting UK carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), and in October 2008 increased this commitment to 80%. The scheme has also been credited with driving up demand for energy-efficient goods and services.The CRC was announced in the 2007 Energy White Paper, published on 23 May 2007. A consultation in 2006 showed strong support for it to be mandatory, rather than voluntary. The Commitment was introduced under enabling powers in Part 3 of the Climate Change Act 2008. A consultation into the scheme's implementation was launched in June 2007. The Scheme is being introduced under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2010.The Conservative Government scrapped the scheme 2019 .

Climate Change Agreement

When the Climate Change Levy was introduced in the United Kingdom, the position of energy-intensive industries was considered, given their energy usage, the requirements of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regime and their exposure to international competition. As a result, a 65% discount from the levy was allowed for those sectors that agreed targets for improving their energy efficiency or reducing carbon emissions. The discount on electricity increased to 90% in 2013.An 'energy-intensive' sector is one which either carries out activities which are listed as Part A(1) or A(2) activities in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (Statutory Instrument 2010 No.675) (as amended), or that satisfies energy intensity criteria provided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The regulations cover the ten main energy-intensive sectors of industry (aluminium, cement, ceramics, chemicals, food and drink, foundries, glass, non-ferrous metals, paper, and steel) and over thirty smaller sectors, and in agriculture, livestock units for the intensive rearing of pigs and poultry.

Coal Authority

The Coal Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government.

Electricity North West

Electricity North West is a British electricity distribution network operator, responsible for the administration and maintenance of the network, that distributes electricity to the North West of England excluding Merseyside and parts of Cheshire.

Energy Institute

The Energy Institute (EI) is a UK chartered professional membership body.

Energy Retail Association

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) was a trade association which promoted the interests of electricity and gas retailers in the domestic market in Great Britain, formed in 2003. In April 2012 it merged with the Association of Electricity Producers and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy to become Energy UK.

Expro

Expro (officially Expro International Group) is an international oil and gas service company, specializing in well flow management, headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom.

Franco-British Nuclear Forum

The first meeting of the Franco–British Nuclear Forum was held in Paris in November 2007, chaired by the Minister for Energy and the French Industry Minister. The working groups are focusing on specific areas for collaboration. A follow-up meeting on the issue in London was planned for March 2008,[1] but did not take place.[2]

Hardy Oil and Gas

Hardy Oil and Gas plc is a leading British-based oil and gas exploration and production business. It is headquartered in Aberdeen and is a former constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

New Electricity Trading Arrangements

New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) is the system of market trading arrangements under which electricity is traded in the United Kingdom's wholesale electricity market as of 27 March 2001. The arrangements provided that parties could trade off their imbalances close to real time.

Opus Energy

Opus Energy Limited supplies gas and electricity to businesses across the United Kingdom. It purchases electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and anaerobic digestion generators, and provides support to develop energy-generating sites. It is headquartered in Northampton, United Kingdom with an additional office in Oxford.

Regal Petroleum

Regal Petroleum plc is a petroleum company based in London with assets in Romania, Ukraine, Greece, and Egypt. It was founded by Frank Timiş in November 1996, and is listed on the London Alternative Investment Market.

Score Group plc

Score Group plc is an international engineering business based in Peterhead, Scotland.

Sunbury Research Centre

The Sunbury Research Centre -- also known as ICBT Sunbury -- is a main research institute of BP in north-east Surrey.

UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks is a distribution network operator for electricity covering South East England, the East of England and London. It manages three licensed distribution networks (Eastern Power Networks PLC, South Eastern Power Networks PLC and London Power Networks PLC) which together cover an area of 30000 square kilometres and approximately eight million customers.

In 2014 UK Power Networks was awarded £25 million from the electricity regulator Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund for the Low Carbon London project. In 2011 it was awarded £6.7 million by Ofgem for another project, Flexible Plug and Play, which is researching new ways, technical and commercial, to connect renewable energy to the distribution network in Cambridgeshire.

As well as the three distribution arms UK Power Networks also operates UK Power Networks Services Holdings Limited, which develops and maintains electrical networks for clients including London Underground, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf.

WesternGeco

WesternGeco is a geophysical services company. It is headquartered in the Schlumberger House on the property of London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, in Greater London.

Western Power Distribution

Western Power Distribution is the trading identity of four electricity distribution companies - WPD South West (operating in South West England), WPD South Wales (operating in South Wales) and WPD Midlands (operating in East Midlands and West Midlands). All of the companies act as the distribution network operator for their respective regions, and are registered in Bristol, England. Western Power Distribution serves approximately 7.7 million customers over its combined distribution areas.

Western Power Distribution is a subsidiary of the American utility corporation PPL.

It should not be confused with WPD, a wind farm company in north-western Europe, or Western Power Corporation, an electricity distributor in Australia.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.