Priceless: Scots Forced to Pay Wind Farms £650,000,000 To NOT Generate Power

Once upon a time, electricity had a value defined by demand, not by the weather. Power that can’t be delivered as and when it’s needed has absolutely no commercial value.

Which brings us to weather-dependent wind power; generated in chaotic, random intervals, it’s a case of either feast or famine.

But businesses and households don’t tend to run to nature’s fickle pulses. Indeed, the very point of the Industrial Revolution – central to which was harnessing and employing thermal power – was for society itself to dictate its terms of operation.

There is only one reason that we’re still talking about wind power, at all: endless subsidies.

One of which takes the form of “constraint payments”, by which taxpayers and/or power consumers are forced to literally pay wind power outfits to not produce electricity. [Note to Ed: getting paid for doing nothing is good work if you can get it!]

In Scotland, which has been overrun by these things in the last decade, power consumers are (unwittingly) being slugged for tens of £millions each year.

The reason for paying wind power outfits to not produce electricity is fairly simple: when the wind picks up across the Highlands, dumping all the power produced into the grid would result in a total ‘system black’. So, in what can only be described as corporate blackmail, those operators demand cash in exchange for not destroying the grid and the country’s power supply.

And this ain’t small beer. Over the last decade this state-sponsored extortion racket has netted Scotland’s wind industry a cool £650,000,000.

Almost £650m spent in a decade to switch off wind turbines
STV News
Iaian Ramage
17 January 2020


Customers have been forced to pay electricity companies almost £650m over the past decade – to not produce power.

The cash is compensation for periods that wind turbines are switched off at short notice and usually happens to avoid overloading the UK’s National Grid.

Since 2009, power firms have been paid to turn off wind turbines when the demand for electricity drops or the wind is too strong.

The cost is then added to customers’ electricity bills.

The bulk of the money – so-called constraint payments – comes to electricity suppliers in Scotland because most windfarms are north of the border.

Helen McDade, Scottish policy advisor at the Renewable Energy Foundation, told STV News: “They’re getting to unmanageable levels with last year being a record level.

“£136m was paid in constraints for windfarms to turn off, to not produce, and that’s more than they would have got if they’d been having good windy days.

“So there’s an incentive for them to build where they’re going to be constrained off, where there isn’t the grid to cope.”

Since 2009, customers have directly compensated windfarmers for switching off turbines – to the tune of £649m.

Watchdogs say that volume would have powered 90% of Scottish households for a year.

A trend is emerging with more wind schemes are on the horizon and most are proposed for areas of Scotland where the biggest constraint payments have been made.

Ms McDade said: “There’s a huge swathe of public applications coming forward now and if you look at the map of constraint payments and you look at the map of where these applications are coming forward, there’s quite a similarity to the pressure in these areas.”

Over the decade, the biggest beneficiary for compensation has been Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow which received £110m.

The Clyde scheme received £80m, Fallago in the Borders £41m, Griffin in Tayside £37m, Black Law in Lanarkshire £24m and Farr in the Highlands £22m.

The trade body Scottish Renewables describes the payments as “a normal part of the overall efficient management of our electricity system.”

The cost has angered those in the frontline of poverty, who are faced with pleas of help from growing numbers of people deciding between heating their homes or putting food on the table.

Alasdair Christie, who runs the Citizens Advice Bureau in Inverness, said: “It’s an awful waste of money that could be diverted and spent on vulnerable people – those in fuel poverty debt, those on the breadline, to try to help them, rather than just haul it up in very rich organisations.”

Responding to the criticism, a spokesman for the UK’s Energy Department said: “We are committed to a dynamic energy market with a range of options for meeting future energy demand including renewables but it must be delivered in a way that offers value for money for consumers and taxpayers.”

The Scottish Government insists wind is “the cheapest form of electricity generated”.

Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “In an ideal world we’d avoid any need for constraint payments but it reflects the fact there has been insufficient investment in the grid to meet the growing installation and demand for renewable electricity generation.

“It’s a necessity at the moment. It sometimes is the most cost effective way of dealing with issues rather than over-building the network to cope with surges in supply.”

In a statement, the National Grid Electricity System Operator said it was “significantly cheaper to pay the constraint costs,” rather than upgrade the grid.

It added: “All electricity systems around the world use constraint payments.”
STV News

11 thoughts on “Priceless: Scots Forced to Pay Wind Farms £650,000,000 To NOT Generate Power

  1. “It’s a necessity at the moment. It sometimes is the most cost effective way of dealing with issues rather than over-building the network to cope with surges in supply.”

    In a statement, the National Grid Electricity System Operator said it was “significantly cheaper to pay the constraint costs,” rather than upgrade the grid.

    The grid wouldn’t need expensive “upgrades” if they weren’t trying to shoehorn wind onto it. The grid upgrades that they are “saving money on” are also a function of foolishly building wind generators.

    I hate that kind of disingenuous lying. They hope you won’t notice the trick.

  2. Is there some knowledgeable person out there in STT’s internet catchment that can answer the following four questions for me:

    (1) Are power consumers in Australia also being forced to pay for a wind farm extortion racket similar to what is being inflicted on those northern highlander people in tartan kilts?

    (2) Does Australian law require wind farm operators in Australia to record and regularly report the number of bird/bat deaths caused by the operator’s wind turbines?

    (3) What is the approximate useful economic life of a wind turbine?

    (4) Does Australian law require wind farm operators to dismantle and dispose of their wind turbines (and towers, etc) once a wind farm has reached the end of its useful life, and does this also require the wind farm operator to return the surrounding environment to its original state?

    Your responses would be appreciated – thanks.

    1. An answer to some of your questions – NO. Australian Law does not exist with respect to Wind Turbine Regulations. Each State regulates itself, so regulations governing these things is a mishmash of ‘pick from the box’ rules.
      The Federal Government has an emissions reduction target and each State also has their own!!
      Re Bird and Bat deaths and other endangered creatures, some projects are required to record deaths of listed endangered creatures, but that is fascicle as they could be required to check for dead or injured – lets say Wedge-tailed Eagles – every week or month and this depends of the mood of the person giving permission to destroy these creatures which could be anyone form Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) which is a Federal body.
      If you consider how many creatures could be lying around injured and dying or taken away by foxes or other creatures, while those given the task of checking intermittently its impossible to know just how many are actually killed/injured, so records cannot be accurate.
      Also some such as Bats do not have to be hit by a blade as they are extremely sensitive and can die from the air pressure the blades create. Then of course how many other creatures die from starvation due to being frightened away from feeding grounds where the ground has begun to throb to the beat of the turning blades and/or the noises/sounds emitted from these monster machines. No one can record that until someone realises they are no longer there.
      There is written into the EPBC Act a word which should cause a cold shudder down the spine of anyone interested in saving the worlds endangered and even those not endangered creatures – it is – the word MITIGATION, which allows these companies to do what ever they want as long as they have a MITIGATION program – (mitigation means to minimise degree of any loss or harm.) What it actually means in this case is these companies have a licence to cause harm – how does that save these creatures, how does it stop them suffering pain, how does it stop a parent creature being able to feed its young if its injured or dead?
      Extortion rackets – well no matter what form it takes these companies are all committing some sort of ‘fraud’.
      From the moment they began their invasion they knew they could harm human beings.
      They knew they could not produce energy when the wind didn’t blow.
      They know they can only guess at how much they will produce over a year.
      They knew the cost of their meagre output would increase the price to end customers.
      They knew they would need to keep building projects to ensure their backers could get a return.
      They knew they could only produce for a very short period of time before needing extensive maintenance and ultimately replacement, unlike other forms of energy production which can keep running with maintenance and possibly some upgrading for many years.
      They knew the energy produced would be capable of destroying the Grid system due to sudden shock waves through the Grid. And for those places where ‘constraint’ payments are made they of course new it was going to be a PROFIT MAKER, that it’s to the detriment of National economies and preventing money being spent where it is most needed means nothing to them.
      This is just some of the possible answers to your questions what they do inform us of is that this industry is out of control and needs to be brought under control and prevented from growing further, before they manage to completely destroy our environments, economies and lives.

      1. Thank you for your comprehensive response Jacqueline. I suspected that much of what you have said was the case. I knew that the federated structure of the Australian Commonwealth probably meant that the legal parameters governing wind farm operation would be the responsibility of each Australian state (and possibly local government) – and therein lies one enormous problem, given the degradation of political discourse and political ethical standards in Australia – especially at State level. From what you have said it is obvious that the “environmentalist industry”, its political representatives, and the supporting bureaucracies, have become deeply corrupted. They have been induced to simply turn a blind eye to the wildlife slaughter. What other conclusion could one make when one considers that the political parties and elected officials who claim to be “the environmental conscience of Australia” allow the juggernaut of the wind farm “wildlife-death-machines” to continue to spread across the landscape like a cancer. It is incredible that they have got away with this so easily when you think about it. It also goes to show how deeply corrupt the mainstream media really is, in that its journalists do not attempt expose this ongoing scandal.

        My queries about the wind farms were triggered by reading an article about the bushfires by Australian author David Flint in the 11 January 2020 edition of ‘Spectator Australia’ – under the headline: “Culpable negligence? Or criminal? Our political class knew disaster lay ahead but failed to prepare”.

        Here is an excerpt from Flint’s article:
        “Meanwhile, the biggest assistance the politicians gave this summer has been neither to the struggling farmers nor to bushfire victims. It was for those hard-up owners of wind farms, mainly foreign investors including those under the ultimate control and direction of the Beijing communists.
        These foreign investors already send $1.6 billion overseas every year representing subsidies taken from businesses and even the poorest Australians. So, the politicians decided (and any silence is agreement), why not celebrate the Christmas season by giving them — giving them not lending them — another billion? Perhaps this gift will be remembered when some in the current flock of politicians decide to retire at some early age to spend, as they say, ‘more time with their families’?
        The ex-politicians will no doubt be hoping for something as undemanding and as well-paid as that scored by Hunter Biden, not only in the Ukraine, but also Communist China, when he flew in on Air Force Two with his father, Obama’s Vice President.”

        The little-known fact here (highlighted by Flint) is that a large part of the so-called “renewables” industry in Australia is actually owned by overseas investors, who have been very successful in getting politicians favourable to their cause elected to parliament, espousing noble ‘climate change mitigation’ scare policies. It certainly explains why so many Australian politicians (and investment fund advisers) eagerly chant an automatic mantra that “climate change is real”. It is probable that foreign owners actually make up the majority of the crony-capitalists behind the “renewables” money-extraction machine.

        There is a limit to how long political operators can deceive a whole population in a country like Australia. From what I can see, I suspect that political instability will grow and many of those parliamentary “safe seats” may become decidedly “unsafe” in the future over the energy cost rip-off that has been going on, to which I detect many Australians are now beginning to wake up. Australia is a resource and energy-rich country – and yet the standard of living of the average Australian has been declining as the country de-industrialises, due to the obscene energy costs. Most Australians don’t want to transition to a burger-flipping and tattoo-parlour economy – they want a decent future for their kids. So, there may be hope to at least contain the wind-farm wildlife slaughter.

  3. It will be amusing if the Scots ever get independence. UK electricity retailers would no longer subsidise Scottish wind farms.

    1. Well we don’t want independence and you are right, if it ever happens the Scots (8% of UK consumers) will be 100% burdened by the financial support paid to wind sharks currently paid by all UK consumers.

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