Scotland’s wind farms are getting £19,000 in subsidies every hour, according to latest figures.
Since power subsidies were introduced in 2002, developers have been given £1.84billion, with household energy bills soaring to pay for it.
The figure i ncludes grossly inflated payments for energy fed into the National Grid, while millions of pounds have been paid out for no power at all.
Wind farms north of the Border have taken £27.2million in constraint payments – paid when they switch off their turbines during storms – since 2010.
The sum, paid to stop the Grid being overloaded, almost doubles when secretive ‘ forward trades’ are factored in. These hidden payments, agreed in advance of predicted stormy weather and paid out whatever the actual conditions, total £20million, says anti-renewables campaign group the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).
Dr Lee Moroney, who revealed the vast sums, said: ‘The subsidy levels for wind farms are enormous and designed to continue for 20 years. In spite of the vast amounts of money consumers are being made to pay in subsidies, CO2 emissions are rising.
‘It is time for wiser, more costeffective policies.’
Richard Crawford, leader of the Alliance Party of Scotland, which opposes wind farms, said: ‘The energy giants and wind farm developers are making a fortune from subsidies. Wind farms have been sold to people as being cheap and green but these figures show they are neither.’
The existence of forward trades has only recently been discovered and the scale of the payments is ‘confidential’. This means the National Grid will not disclose which firms got handouts in advance of bad weather or confirm the REF’s estimate of £20million for wind power.
Payments are agreed based on weather forecasts to compensate wind farm owners for turning off their turbines.
The cost more than doubles when £27.2million of constraint payments are factored in. This sum has been collected by wind farms over the past three years.
Vast numbers of wind turbines have been built to fulfil the Scottish Government’s target to provide all electricity from renewables by 2020.
It means the bulk of wind subsidies are paid out north of the Border.
Since 2002, £1.8billion has been spent on wind energy subsidies. Whitelee wind farm in East Renfrewshire has swallowed up £150million since 2007. The total paid in the past decade is £1.84billion or almost £19,200 an hour.
Campaigners have warned the huge handouts must stop but the National Grid defended its use of forward trades. A spokesman said: ‘Forward trades were put in place specifically to reduce costs – and not to be less transparent.
‘National Grid has worked hard in engaging with wind farm operators to reduce their Balancing Mechanism prices (for switching off or reducing wind supply) and hence on the small number of times National Grid is required to take action on wind farms to secure the system we do so at the lowest cost in the most transparent manner we can.’
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