The cottish government has been accused of milking energy customers in England by encouraging the growth of wind farms even though much of the electricity cannot be delivered to homes in the South.
A record £61.4million was paid to wind farm operators to turn off their turbines in the past year if their electricity was surplus to requirement – up 32 per cent on the previous year.
The vast majority of this handout, funded through a charge on customers’ energy bills, goes to huge wind farms that have been built across Scotland.
In the past two years, payments to wind farm operators have soared from £11,000 to £170,000 a day.
One of the big problems is the grid link between England and Scotland has limited capacity.
An energy expert has accused the Scottish government of being “irresponsible” for encouraging wind farms that can generate more electricity than can be used north of the border and more than can be exported.
Wind farm owners are paid for electricity that could have been generated and sold if there was a demand or there had not been a grid blockage.
These payments to wind farms, 95 per cent of which go to Scotland, have increased massively.
Three years ago just £4million was paid.
The nation’s biggest wind farm with 215 turbines, Scottish Power-owned Whitelee, near Glasgow, has 215 turbines and has received almost £28million since it first opened in 2009.
Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, attacked the building of “silly amounts of wind power in Scotland”.
He said: “The Scottish government has driven the construction of large onshore wind way ahead of the grid’s ability to absorb the energy at reasonable cost.
“This headlong rush is what lies behind the rapid growth in payments to wind.
“The Scots behaved in this irresponsible way as they knew the costs, like the subsidies, would be picked up by UK consumers, not just voters in Scotland.
The dramatic overbuild of wind power in Scotland is causing significant additional costs for UK consumers, firstly in payments to stop generating when the network is congested,then to conventional generators in England and Wales to make up for the loss of wind power.”
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The blind pursuit of misguided energy policies has left hard-pressed families facing ever higher bills.”
The Scottish government said: “This claim misrepresents how the system operates. Power companies throughout Britain are paid for their flexibility in managing the grid.
“The bulk of payments for varying output, up and down, are paid to fossil fuel generators.
“Wind farms attract payments only when they offer the lowest cost option to resolve grid congestionand maintain stability.”
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