- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

No such thing as an ill wind for wind farms

In the past ten days Fallago wind farm operators have been paid over £600,000 to shut down turbines and reduce the energy they produce.

The ‘constraint payments’ are paid by the National Grid when energy supply is greater than demand and both Fallago Rig and Crystal Rig II wind farms in the Lammermuirs have benefited from such payments to the tune of £1 million in the past ten days – Fallago Rig £626,393 and Crystal Rig £392,614.

Their most profitable, but least productive day, was April 29, when the National Grid paid out more than £1 million to 13 Scottish wind farms to reduce their energy output – Crystal Rig getting the lion’s share of £348,613, followed by Fallago Rig on £296,457.

Energy production obviously continued to outstrip demand and either one or the other, and sometimes both, wind farm operators were again asked to shut down their turbines, and were compensated for doing so every day between May 2-5.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “Constraint payments to wind farms are well in excess of the lost subsidy income, suggesting that the industry is taking advantage of the difficulties that they cause on the network.

“While perfectly legal, this is clearly unfair, and the regulator Ofgem needs to step in to protect the consumer.”

The Renewable Energy Foundation web site states: “Increasingly more electricity is being generated in Scotland than can be used in Scotland, and the grid interconnections between Scotland and England are insufficient to take the excess electricity which is generated, usually at times of, often unexpectedly, high winds and low Scottish demand.”

National Grid said: “As part of National Grid’s role, it can ask generators to come on or off the grid to manage constraints and keep the system balanced.”

Anti-windfarm campaigner Mark Rowley, who lives in the Lammermuirs described the situation as “truly scandalous”.

He went on : “This is effectively paid for by the consumer – over £5 for everyone in the Borders on that one day alone.

“This has to be evidence that there is more than sufficient onshore wind energy in this part of Scotland and that to build more would recklessly destroy our important landscapes when it is clear that the Borders has more than done its bit – we produce almost 10% of the UK’s wind energy already.”

This isn’t the first time that Crystal Rig II operators, Fred Olsen Ltd have benefited.

In 2011 they were paid £1.2 million not to produce electricity from their 60 turbines as high winds buffeted the country in the wake of Hurricane Katia.

According to the web site Global Warming Policy Foundation, this was ten times what they would have received had they actually generated electricity.