It is grist to the mill – or windmill – of campaigners that six windfarm companies were paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to switch off their turbines because the national grid network could not absorb all the energy being produced.
They appear to have been stopped for only a few hours, but the companies were compensated with £900,000 in total.
On the one hand, it makes perfect sense to stop turbines when too much electricity is being produced. Why waste the energy generated and what was needed to run the farms for the sake of it?
On the other hand, what is the point in having so many turbines when they produce too much electricity when it is windy?
The polarised nature of the debate over windfarms means that there will be much heat and little light spread on the subject by news of the subsidy payments.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the efficiency of windfarms, there are clearly issues for planners to address when granting permission for the dozens of schemes in the pipeline.
It is not just a question of whether or not they will be unsightly or intrusive, but what national management plans are in place to ensure that the resource is not wasted on windy days.
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