Consultation on amendments to the Renewables Obligation (Scotland)
1. The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) ( ROS) was introduced in 2002, alongside an equivalent Order covering England and Wales, and, later, Northern Ireland. It was designed to provide incentives to invest in renewable electricity generation, and has successfully supported a year on year increase in installed renewable capacity and generation – renewable electricity output in Scotland has almost trebled since 2006, and is now equivalent to 54% of the electricity consumed in Scotland.
2. Support provided by the ROS has also helped increase economic growth and job creation in Scotland. Scotland is internationally recognised as an area of energy excellence, with the low carbon and renewable energy sector and supply chain supporting 58,500 jobs in Scotland in 2015.
Purpose of this consultation paper
3. This consultation seeks views on an amendment to the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2009, the aim of which would be to permit additional "excluded capacity" at certain hydro generating stations. Operators of any such stations who choose to increase declared net capacity ( DNC) beyond the current 20 MW threshold would be able to retain eligibility for Scottish Renewables Obligation Certificates ( SROCs) in respect of electricity generated by their ROS accredited capacity only – SROCs will not be awarded in respect of any output attributable to the increased / additional capacity.
4. This consultation applies only to generating stations located in Scotland.
Additional excluded capacity at large hydro generating stations
5. The Scottish Government's Energy Strategy  , published on 20 December 2017, set two new targets for the Scottish energy system by 2030:
- The equivalent of 50% of the energy for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources.
- An increase by 30% in the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy.
6. Any and all means to encourage additional renewable electricity generation will help us progress towards our 50% 'all energy' target, especially where those can be achieved at no additional costs to consumers. While market mechanisms that influence the future energy mix in Scotland are generally reserved to the UK Government, the Scottish Government is determined to ensure that the policies and levers at its control are designed to maximise output from renewable generators across Scotland.
7. After the closure of the UK ROs to new generating capacity, rules were created to allow generators to add capacity – which is not eligible for SROCs – known as "excluded capacity".  However, article 17(4) of the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2009  has the effect of limiting the ability of accredited hydro stations to deploy excluded capacity where that takes the DNC of any such station to over 20 MW.
8. This consultation seeks views on an amendment to the 2009 Order which would allow relevant hydro generating stations, in line with all other eligible generating stations and technologies, to increase their DNC above 20 MW. The stations would not receive any SROCs for the electricity generated by the "excluded" capacity.
9. As the ROS is now closed to new capacity (subject to certain grace periods), this will only affect stations with existing accreditations. This applies to all existing and accredited ROS hydro generating stations below 20 MW DNC.
10. This would bring arrangements for hydro generating stations in line with all other technologies and secure as much renewable generation in Scotland as possible, while creating no additional costs for consumers.
Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA)
11. We have considered the impact that this proposed change would have on environment and statutory consultees. This consultation does not require a SEA.
12. The Scottish Government welcomes the views of consultees on the proposed amendments to the ROS as set out above.