Wind farms were paid £25million not to produce electricity when it is ‘too windy’ last year, figures revealed today.
There was a staggering 13,733 per cent rise in the payments on the year before.
Turbine operators are ordered by the National Grid to shutdown to avoid too much power being produced during gales.
Wind farms set their own rates to close and have been accused of demanding ‘excessive’ fees to shutdown, The Times reported.
On one day alone companies were paid £1.6million not to produce energy in October last year.
Figures revealed they received an average of £361 per megawatt-hour that day for electricity they could have generated – four times the price they would have sold it for.
The cost of wind farms switching off is ultimately passed onto consumers.
The policy raises fresh questions about the Government’s strategy of expanding the use of wind farms to cut carbon emissions.
Up to 32,000 wind turbines could be built in England and Wales over the next 40 years to meet government targets.
The payments are expected to rise further in the next few years as more of them are connected to the National Grid.
Last week three wind turbines in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, were destroyed in gales.
Richard Hall, head of energy regulation, told The Times: ‘If wind farm generators are asked to cut production they will clearly expect some compensation.
‘But to keep costs down for customers we believe this should be at a level which reflects the realistic value of the loss to the company, not an arbitrary level that the firms set themselves.’
In total wind farms were asked to stop producing for 149,983 megawatt-hours – which is 1.49 per cent of the energy they produced.
This is equivalent of a large offshore facility being shutdown permanently.
National Grid, a public company, have never before admitted how much is spent getting wind farms to close.
Regulator Ofgem have expressed concerns about the level of payments.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding