Wind Farms paid nearly £900,000 to turn off their Generators for One Night

The National Grid Operational Forum revealed that 5 wind farms in Scotland were paid £890,000 to turn off their generating turbines for one night as the system was not able to absorb the amount of electricity being produced.

In the parlance of the National Grid Monthly Report these items are considered “constraint payments” and were made in the first week of April.  A number of generators contracted to generate electricity were stood down so as not to overload the system.

As a consequence, the Scottish Grid Network paid a notional income to the generators which in some cases is reputed to be 20 times the amount of revenue which would have been generated.

Any such payments will of course ultimately be passed over to consumers. 

Opponents of wind farms cite that there is often insufficient wind or too much wind for them to operate efficiently.  Although a “green” form of power conversion, the levels of power converted by the turbines do not economically justify the capital investment and they would generally not be constructed without the large subsidy that is made to make profit for the owners.  (Some parties also say that it would be cheaper and more justified for the Public Sector to own the turbines directly, bearing in mind the scale of the subsidies.) 

To artificially subsidise the owners of turbines, bizarrely seems to be the accepted norm.  If the consumer regularly ends up paying the operators not to generate power, there may be a greater reaction from public opinion.

To read the full article from the analyses of the Renewable Energy Foundation, click on the following link.

1st May 2011