United Kingdom: Summary

Updated: 27.01.2017

Author: Georgios Maroulis

Support schemes

In the United Kingdom, the generation of electricity from renewable sources is supported through a combination of a feed-in tariff system, Contracts for Difference system, a quota system in terms of a quota obligation and a certificate system and a tax mechanism. 

Under the feed-in tariff, accredited producers whose plants have a capacity of less than 5 MW can sell their electricity at fixed tariff rates established by the Gas and Electricity Market Authority (Ofgem). The scheme is applicable to England, Wales and Scotland only.

Under the quota system, UK electricity suppliers of more than 5 MW of capacity are obliged under the Renewables Obligation Orders to supply a certain proportion of electricity from renewable sources ("quota") to their customers. A supplier's quota is deemed satisfied if he presents a certain number of green certificates.

Under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, a RES-E generator and a CfD Counterparty (Low Carbon Contracts Company) enter into a contract, which is based on a difference between the market price and an agreed “strike price”.  Currently, the scheme is applicable in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland it is expected to be introduced in 2016. From April 2017 the CfD scheme will be the only support scheme for all new RES-E plants exceeding 5 MW.  

Furthermore, in Great Britain commercial and industrial users of traditional energy sources are subject to Carbon Price Floor (CPF), a tax on fossil fuels used for electricity generation. Electricity from renewable sources is exempt from this tax. 

More about support schemes

Grid issues

In the United Kingdom access of renewable energy plants to the grid is subject to the general provisions of energy law. Renewable energy sources are not given priority.

More about grid issues

Policies

In the United Kingdom a certification scheme for solar thermal installations and an R&D policy are currently available. A plan for vocational training of installers is being developed.

More about policies
United Kingdom

Further information

  • Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body (GD ORB) – body administering Green Deal scheme
  • +44 (0) 207 090 1031
  • GD ORB website