Wind farm owners have been paid more than £70million over the last three years not to produce electricity, it has emerged.
And the owners of 10 wind farms have been paid more than £3million each to shut down their turbines when National Grid fears too much energy will be generated, overloading the system.
Under the “constraint” payments process windfarm owners ask for compensation for each megawatt hour of energy their turbines would have produced. National Grid must then decide whether to accept the valuation.
The highest payment was £11.1million to Scottish Power, which runs the Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow. Others include £7.6million to RWE Innogy, which runs the Farr wind farm outside Inverness, and £3.2million to Fred Olsen for shutting down Crystal Rig in the Scottish borders.
As most of the wind farms are in Scotland, “bottlenecks” of energy can build during high winds.
MPs demanded in 2011 that regulator Ofgem take action over constraint payments after it emerged that Fred Olsen was paid £1.2million to shut down Crystal Rig for 8.5 hours.
But the Renewable Energy Foundation, which produced the new statistics from official figures, said companies made “token reductions” or “simply ignored” warnings to bring down payments.
Research director Dr Lee Moroney, said: “A more robust position from both Government and the regulator, Ofgem, would go a long way to reining in wind power’s very high constraint prices.”
Ofgem said payments had risen as more renewable generators had come on line before new infrastructure had been built including a £1billion subsea link from Scotland to the rest of the UK.
A spokeswoman said prices fell from £173 per MWh in August 2011 to £78 per MWh this month.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding