Highland Heist: During 2020 Scots Paid Wind Power Outfits £235,000,000 To NOT Produce Power

Chaotically intermittent and heavily subsidised wind power is costing the normally parsimonious Scots a veritable fortune, even when their wind turbines aren’t producing so much as a spark.

There aren’t many businesses where a major source of revenue is being paid to NOT produce what it is that your business is meant to produce.

STT is at a loss to find many other current examples that match the profligacy of paying what are called “constraint payments” to wind power outfits, so that they won’t deliver power to the grid when the wind is blowing.

And were not talking small beer, either. Over the last decade, British wind power outfits have collected over £650,000,000.

And the figure just keeps on growing: in 2020 alone Scottish wind power outfits were handed a cool £235,000,000 to do nothing, at all.

£230m bung to switch off turbines – and you’re paying!
Scottish Daily Mail
Graham Grant
6 January 2021

Scotland’s wind farm operators have been handed more than £230million to shut down their turbines.

The record windfall for 2020, funded by energy bill-payers, is up from £130million in 2019 – an increase of nearly 81 per cent in a year.

Experts estimate the amount of discarded energy is equivalent to about 14 per cent of total annual electricity consumption north of the Border.

The cash given to power giants is known as ‘constraint payments’, made when it is too windy for turbines to operate – or when the supply of energy outstrips demand and the National Grid cannot absorb their output.

Last night, Scottish Tory energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: ‘This significant increase in payment shows that the SNP’s strategy is simply not delivering value for money.

‘The public are being short-changed at having to shell out so much for these turbines to be switched off.

‘SNP ministers must use these figures as a wake-up call.’

Figures showing that £235million was paid out in constraints last year were produced by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), the UK charity that first drew attention to the payments and now publishes the data on a daily basis.

Its director Dr John Constable said: ‘The surge in constraint payments is a clear sign of worse to come as Holyrood and Westminster both drive through their unbalanced and poorly thought through wind policy.

‘The wind resource is poorly correlated with demand patterns. More expansion of the National Grid helps but does not solve the problem. Turning expensive but unwanted wind electricity into hydrogen will be still more expensive. Is this a green future? No, this is what a failing policy looks like.’

According to the REF’s data, Scottish Power’s Whitelee wind farm, near Glasgow, received the highest level of constraint payments, at £ 25.8million, followed by Kilgallioch in Ayrshire – also run by Scottish Power – on £19.7million.

Meanwhile, SSE Renewables was handed £18million for the Clyde wind farm, near Abington, Lanarkshire. The money is paid out by National Grid but is charged to consumers and added to electricity bills.

Morag Watson, director of policy at industry body Scottish Renewables, defended constraint payments. She said: ‘Constraint payments are a normal part of the overall efficient management of our electricity system. National Grid pays a variety of technologies to reduce or increase output as required to help balance the system – a service which adds £1 a year to the average electricity bill.’

A National Grid Electricity System Operator spokesman said: ‘Constraint payments are the most efficient option to balance supply and demand, keep costs down for consumers and ensure safe, reliable electricity.

‘It’s always been significantly cheaper to pay the constraint costs than build more transmission infrastructure.’

He added: ‘Constraint costs have been higher than forecast this year owing to factors including weather events and the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Record high levels of wind and demand uncertainty due to lockdown measures led us to take more action than normal in securing the system.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The Scottish Government has no role in setting constraint payments. However, we support the development of renewable energy.’
Scottish Daily Mail

About stopthesethings

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


  1. maryyoung32 says:

    It’s a disgrace, STT. Subsidies by any other name
    One small correction, however. Although this eye-watering sum is paid to Scottish wind farm operators, it’s not just Scots who are paying for the profligacy – it’s consumers across the whole UK.

    So the Scottish Government can feel free to basically take the money from the pocket of the little old lady in the South of England, who can’t afford to eat and heat. Or from the pocket of the single mother in the North of England, or Wales, who has to go to foodbanks to feed her kids.

    Were Scotland to gain independence, it’s highly likely, in light of what the then Energy Secretary Ed Davey said a few years ago that Scots would need to pay it all. At the moment subsidies (and constraints) are split 92%/8% (the latter being Scotland consumers share).

    The total constraint payments for 2020 were just over £274 million and the total since the Connect and Manage scheme was started in 2010 are over £926 million.

  2. Neil Dellaca says:

    “a service which adds £1 a year to the average electricity bill” seems a masterly understatement – more like £1 a week per household (plus more for non-domestic users). With 5.5 million living in Scotland at say 2.5 residents per home unit that’s 2.2 million households (some of whom wouldn’t have grid supplied electricity) to share domestic supply’s 42% of the £235 million cost: £45 each per year.
    “it’s always been significantly cheaper to pay the constraint costs than build more transmission infrastructure” suggests these constraint payments are ridiculously permanent. A little too obvious it seems to point out that it would be cheaper still not to build the renewable towers at all.

    • Great points made by Mary & Neil. The virtuous Scottish government will shine brightly in the company of Biden’s America, the UN and Europe – and China too, coming to think of it!
      We should all get ready to become lowly paid paupers, unable to afford cars or flights to Spain, and never being able to sell or buy our houses without costly energy certificates.
      And all of this to remove a life-giving trace gas which has NO influence on our Climate.

    • Kevin Rudd told the Australian people early this century that Labor party modelling suggested that between then and 2045 the total cost to the economy of his renewable energy plan would be between $600 and $800 million or $45 per person, that’s $1 per person per year.
      The cost of Australian electricity is now amongst the highest in the world and all up renewables subsidies and taxes cost the average household around $1,300 per year. For an average Australian household of 2.5 persons that means the current additional cost of renewables is $520 per person per year.

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