An international electricity company, National Grid, last month paid six Scottish wind farms 890,000 pounds (US$1.48 million) to shut off their turbines for a night.
The turbines were stopped because the power network they fed into could not handle the amount of power it was receiving, according to a report by U.K. based think tank Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) whose research publicized the incident.
National Grid said that unusually heavy rains and winds in Scotland that evening caused the overload.
A spokesman for National Grid, Stewart Larque, said, “On the evening of the fifth into the sixth of April, the wind in Scotland was high, it was raining heavily, which also created more hydro energy than normal,” BBC reported.
In some cases the constraint payments given to the farms were up to 20 times the value of the energy not being produced. The money for the payments will end up being paid by consumers through bills, said REF, which is criticized for being anti-wind power.
REF said the incident confirms that the “scale and pace of wind power development [in the U.K.] has exceeded the ability of the system to integrate this uncontrollable energy source.”
The U.K. allots hefty subsidies for green energy. REF reported that in 2010 the U.K. paid 1 billion pounds (US$1.67 billion) in subsidies for renewable energy.
In February, U.K. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne brought the issue of cutting renewable energy subsidies up for review in response to the appearance of large photovoltaic farms in the U.K. countryside, the Telegraph reported.
In September last year, REF was one of 22 groups who wrote Huhne a letter saying that cutting subsidies for green energy generated in U.K. households would hurt job creation and energy security, and the ability to meet greenhouse gas targets.
While the debate on the politics of alternative energy continues to be a hot topic in the U.K., last month Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the country would seek to make alternative energy sources “a major pillar” of Japanese energy after the majority of Japan’s wind farms survived the double disaster earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding