RO revised to help small generators

Legislation making it easier for small generators to claim renewables obligations certificates (ROCs) came into force on 1 April.1

The Renewables Obligation Order 2006 (Amendment) Order 2007 allows agents to act on behalf of small generators and amalgamate output to claim ROCs.

It also removes the need for generators, who use their own electricity, to enter into "sale and buy-back" agreements with electricity suppliers if they want to claim ROCs.

Powers permitting the Secretary of State to make the changes were included in the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 (ENDS Report 377, p 47 ) and consulted on last year (ENDS Report 381, pp 42-43 ).

The Order also changes biomass co-firing rules. In the past, power stations could only use co-firing to meet 10% of their renewables obligations. This cap is lifted for co-firing of energy crops.

Northern Ireland and Scotland have also introduced the changes.2, 3 The Scottish Order also implements the marine supplier obligation designed to encourage take-up of wave and tidal power (ENDS Report 381, p 44 ). From 2008, electricity suppliers will have to use wave and tidal sources to generate a proportion of their electricity or pay a buy-out price. The obligation starts at 0.05% of total supplies for both wave and tidal power in 2008/09 and rises to 0.35% by 2015/16. The Order details how the buy-out fund will work.

Ofgem has issued guidance on the changes for small generators, prospective agents and licensed electricity suppliers.4, 5, 6