Paid £136m to stop turbines

Paid £136m to stop turbines


Wind farms were given more than £3 million per day by the government last week to switch off their turbines and not produce electricity.

The money was handed over after a fault was discovered in the Western Link power line, a 530-mile high-voltage cable running from the west coast of Scotland to the north coast of Wales that carries electricity to England.

On January 10, strong winds meant that too much energy was being produced on the line, prompting wind turbines to be shut down.

The following day, 50 wind farms were asked to stop producing electricity, and given a total of £2.5 million in compensation.

In total, energy firms were given more than £12 million in compensation, which will be added onto consumer bills, with the payments causing fury.   

According to analysis, the compensation payments were 25 to 80 per cent more than what the energy firms would have earned had they been producing electricity.

The Renewable Energy Foundation revealed in December that 86 wind farm operators in Britain were handed more than £136 million in compensation last year - a new record amount, reported the Telegraph.

The REF warned that consumers have to foot the bill for these operators, who are asked to shut their turbines down by the government.

They are asked to do because there are an 'excessive' number of turbines in Scotland, which leaves the electricity grid unable to cope when there are strong winds.

To overcome this problem, the Western Link was built but, after going live in 2018, it has been plagued by problems, including those from last week.

The payments are still being made this week, with the power line still out of use as an investigation takes place.

Dr John Constable, director of REF, said: 'The Scottish Government has permitted excessive and environmentally damaging growth in wind power north of the border which has put the electricity system under great strain and burdened English and Welsh consumers not only with constraint payments but also with the additional expense of a £1 billion interconnector that is itself proving unreliable.

'The environment and the consumer have been betrayed over and over again.'

Viscount Ridley, the science writer and former businessman, has submitted a series of written questions in the House of Lords about the Western Link and its cost to taxpayers.

However, a National Grid ESO spokesman claims that the cost of managing the amount of electricity in the grid amounted to just £1 of the average annual household bill of £554.

Source: Daily Mail

Published: 19-01-2020
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