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Windfarms paid by National Grid to stop turbines  

Credit:  By Cheryl Livingstone, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 2 May 2011 ~~

A windfarm near Inverness is among six facilities that have received a six-figure sum to switch off their turbines in a bid to cut down on surplus energy being produced.

Research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) released yesterday revealed energy companies were paid a total of £900,000 for stopping the turbines for several hours between April 5-6 this year.

Farr windfarm, south of Inverness, received one of the biggest payments of more than £260,000, with the largest going to Whitelee windfarm in East Renfrewshire of more than £300,000.

REF said some of the payments were as high as 20 times the value of the electricity which would have been generated if the turbines kept running.

The National Grid makes constraint payments to power stations that agree to stop generating in order to stabilise the network.

It happens when the grid system or a section of the system is unable to absorb all the electricity being generated, and some generators that are contracted to generate are asked to stand down.

Lee Moroney, planning director for the foundation, said yesterday: “The variability of wind power poses grid management problems for which there are no cheap solutions.

“However, throwing the energy away, and paying windfarms handsomely for doing so, is not only costly but obviously very wasteful.

“Government must rethink the scale and pace of wind-power development before the costs of managing it become intolerable and the scale of the waste scandalous.”

The National Grid said the grid had overloaded because high winds and heavy rain in Scotland on April 4 and 6 produced more wind energy than it could use.

A spokesman said it had happened on one other occasion, adding that making the payments were “the most cost-effective way to balance supply and demand”.

Source:  By Cheryl Livingstone, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 2 May 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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