Renewables Obligation (RO)—sustainability criteria and reporting for solid biomass, biogas and bioliquids
Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson of Energetics
Renewables Obligation (RO)—sustainability criteria and reporting for solid biomass, biogas and bioliquids

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson of Energetics provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Renewables Obligation (RO)—sustainability criteria and reporting for solid biomass, biogas and bioliquids
  • How are the sustainability criteria relevant to the RO?
  • Ofgem guidance on the RO sustainability criteria
  • What are the sustainability criteria?
  • What are the reporting requirements?

How are the sustainability criteria relevant to the RO?

The renewables obligation (RO) was intended to support investment in renewable generation projects. It did this by placing customer-facing electricity suppliers—who (directly or indirectly) purchase their electricity from generators—under an obligation to source an increasing proportion of their wholesale electricity from renewable sources. The required proportion is set by the Secretary of State (SoS) for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The supplier evidences its purchases of renewable electricity by the submission of ‘renewable obligation certificates’ (ROCs) to the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).

In order to claim ROCs, generators must be accredited under the RO as capable of generating electricity from renewable sources. Before a generator could be fully accredited under the RO, there were certain eligibility requirements that had to be fulfilled along with additional requirements that applied to generators fired using solid or gaseous biomass, and bioliquids. These are colloquially known as the ‘sustainability criteria’ but are actually two separate sets of criteria: the ‘greenhouse gas criteria’ and the ‘land criteria’.

Ofgem publishes guidance on the RO specifically for generators: ‘Guidance for Generators for generators that receive or would like to receive support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme’.

On 31 March 2017, the RO closed to new generation. Subject to certain grace periods (which themselves have now expired),