UK Wind Farms Get to Pocket £Millions Without Producing a Single Spark

armed robber

That’s right, I haven’t produced anything, but
the government says I get to collect anyway.

****

Britain’s wind power disaster is a debacle, to be sure. However, paying wind power outfits for electricity that’s never produced is nothing short of criminal. This Daily Express piece, which uncovers the scandal in Scotland, is a little confused on its facts, but we’ll sort that out below.

Wind farms get £5million handout because it has been too windy
Daily Express
Tom Martin
13 November 2015

SCOTS wind farms have been handed more than £5million this week because it has been too windy.

The huge sum – equivalent to £873,476 every day – was paid out because the National Grid cannot handle the extra energy turbines produce during gales.

The so-called “constraint payments” are paid by consumers through a subsidy added on to electricity bills.

Latest figures show £58million was handed out to power firms across the UK over the past 12 months for shutting down turbines.

The scale of the payments has soared in the last three years, according to the think-tank Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

In 2012, wind farms were paid £5.9million to switch off. On Monday £1,452,629 alone was given to wind farm operators north of the Border.

Scotland has been battered by hurricane-force winds of up to 84mph, causing widespread power cuts and structural damage.

Critics said the figures undermine SNP claims that wind energy can help Scotland to produce 100 per cent of its energy from green sources by 2020.

Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has used its control over the planning system to encourage the construction of thousands of turbines.

Scottish Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “This is an incredible financial bonus for a form of energy that is unreliable and intermittent.

“Taxpayers will be appalled at this spend, particularly as a reward for effectively doing nothing.

“It shows why the UK Government was quite right to end the subsidy for wind farms and put the brakes on this gravy train before it gets out of hand.”

Scotland hosts more than half the UK’s onshore turbines but demand is insufficient to use much of the power produced on windy days.

Cable networks to take the power south of the Border are not yet ready.

National Grid has to pay the wind farm owners to stop generating in order to keep supply and demand balanced. Some of the cash has gone to Spanish-owned ScottishPower, for its Whitelee wind farm near Eaglesham, Renfrewshire.

Whitelee – the largest wind farm in Britain with 215 turbines – received £1.1million in total since last weekend.

Dr Lee Moroney, research director of the REF, said: “Paying wind farms not to generate has always seemed outrageous.

“The increase has meant that more has been paid than any other year.

“Each year it is going up.”

Michael Rieley, senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Constraint payments are not new nor restricted only to wind farms.

“National Grid pays a variety of technologies to reduce or increase output as required to balance the system.

“These payments are a normal part of the overall efficient management of our electricity system, given the limitations of the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure.”

The Scottish Government last night said that the National Grid figures show gas power stations had received £101.4million in constraint payments over the last year.
Daily Express

The first little furphy that that Tom Martin falls for, is the claim that wind power outfits were actually producing power during Scotland’s gales. Tom says that “Scotland has been battered by hurricane-force winds of up to 84mph”. Well, if that was the case, there would have been absolutely NO wind power being produced at all.

Industrial scale wind turbines are not designed to operate in gale or ‘hurricane-force’ winds.

These things are automatically shut down when wind speeds exceed around 25 m/s (90kmh or 56mph) – in order to protect blades from being torn off; and bearings from overheating, metal fatigue and collapse.

turbine001 kerry

A ‘blow’ in Kerry, Ireland reduces blade count by a third …

****

Tom talks about wind speeds of ‘84mph’, which converts to 135km/h or 37 m/s. Scotland’s fleet of turbines would have been all shut down long before the wind reached that kind of force. So, if wind power outfits were being paid during Scotland’s gales, it would not have been to have them ‘voluntarily’ shut down their turbines; with the Wind Gods firmly in charge, their operators would have simply had no choice in the matter.

Gas turbine operators are a whole different kettle of fish, however. Gas turbines can operate rain, hail or shine – and run 24 x 365, completely untroubled by thumping breezes.

So when Scottish Renewable’s spinner, Michael Rieley starts fluffing about “constraint payments” being paid to gas power stations “to balance the system”, he’s going nowhere near telling the full story.

What’s being paid to conventional generators are “capacity payments”, which are required to have real generating capacity available to cover routine, total (and totally unpredictable) collapses in wind power output:

Power Punters to Pay Double for Wind Power “FAILS” – REAL Power Generators Paid to Cover Wind Power Fraud

The payments are made so operators can recover their capital costs and fixed overheads – allowing for the periods when the wind is blowing and they’re refused access to the grid (wind power takes guaranteed priority in Britain under government contracts); and unable to sell power, despite being ready, willing and able to do so.

Those capacity payments are not limited to gas operators, that much is true. Thanks to its ludicrous wind power policy, Britain has just signed up to roll out tens of thousands of diesel generators – adding to the thousands already in service – to cover daily wind power output collapses:

UK’s Wind ‘Powered’ Disaster: Britain to Roll Out Thousands of Diesel Generators for 1.5GW of Wind Farm ‘Back-Up’

And the cost of this lunacy will all be borne by British power consumers and taxpayers. Welcome to your wind ‘powered’ future.

Money Wasted

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on pattikellar and commented:
    What an absolute scam. This is the kind of deal Bob Chiarelli made with Samsung/Pattern/K2 in Ontario when he renegotiated the 7 Billion backdoor sweetheart deal, paying them NOT to produce power.

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