Energy giant SSE is to receive more than £140,000 of compensation for halting turbines on a Sutherland windfarm which was running final start-up tests at the time.
The 35-turbine, £100million Gordonbush development near Brora was not fully operational when it was paid to stop work for three days earlier this month to avoid overloading the electricity network.
The constraint payments are made by the National Grid and the cost is offset to household electricity bills.
Compensation payments for shutting down the recently-built windfarm on June 6 and 7 totalled £30,475 and £46,974 respectively.
“Constraint cash” for ceasing work on June 8 came to £64,079.
The 70MW development did not become fully operational until June 12.
Alan Tubb, of Sutherland wind protest group LandScape, said: “With increasing energy bills, the UK and Scottish governments must urgently overhaul the system of payments made to an industry that is driving people into fuel poverty.”
A spokeswoman for SSE said the scheme was undergoing final stress testing at the time but said there was nothing usual about the situation. She said: “It was generating electricity. It was contributing to the Scottish renewable target and the fact that we were watching it because we were in the final stages of testing is neither here nor there. There is nothing usual about this.”
She added: “It’s fully operational now and it has been contributing greatly both socially and economically to the local area.”
A spokeswoman for the National Grid said: “As part of its role balancing energy minute by minute National Grid can ask generators to come on or off the grid to manage constraints and keep the system balanced.”
She said the organisation was transparent and open about constraint payments made and those paid to windfarms formed a small amount of the overall total.
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