UK’s Costly Grid Chaos Continues, As Wind Power Continually Fails to Deliver

Start placing serious reliance on wind power and you can safely place your bets on daily disappointment. Such it is in Britain, with month upon month of pitiful performance from its fleet of whirling wonders.

During most of September and into October, Europe’s wind farms were the victims of the Big Calm.

The Wind Gods had the last laugh, with wind power output reduced to a risible trickle across the continent. The Brits were forced to fire up their mothballed coal-fired power plants, and wholesale power prices went through the roof.

Natural forces continued to conspire into November: on 2 and 3 November, wind power output across the UK once again plummeted, delivering a pitiful 5% of its nameplate capacity; wholesale power prices went through the roof, topping out at £4,000/MWh – the price charged by Britain’s two remaining coal-fired power plants for literally saving the day.

As Net Zero Watch reports, there was a repeat performance on 24 November when, yet again, wind power output barely nudged the needle into positive territory.

Britons face record bill as wind farms perform poorly again
Net Zero Watch
Press Release
25 November 2021

The daily cost of balancing the electricity grid rocketed to £63 million yesterday, smashing the old record of £45 million, set just three weeks ago.

Wind farms were performing poorly yet again, delivering only 20% of their theoretical capacity.

The Balancing Mechanism, which ensures that supply and demand are in balance hour by hour, was forced to pay up to £4000/MWh to get the coal-fired Drax 5 unit to switch on, at the same time as paying wind farms to switch off.

Net Zero Watch’s Dr Benny Peiser said:

The tens of millions that the grid is having to throw at the growing problem of unreliable renewables on days like yesterday are astonishing. £1 million to wind farms to switch off. £5 million to get a single coal-fired unit at Drax to switch on. This is unsustainable.”

The annual cost of the so-called Balancing Mechanism has quintupled in just three years, reaching £1.8 billion in 2020/21 driven primarily by the vagaries of wind speed.

But Dr Peiser warns that figure that is likely to be comfortably surpassed in the current year.

The Government has done nothing to address the energy crisis – our huge shale gas resources remain untapped while they burden consumers with billions in absurd transfers for bailing out inept wind farms.

The soaring costs show just how precarious the UK electricity grid is becoming, and it’s only going to get worse. This winter could be catastrophic for households struggling with rapidly rising energy bills.”

Net Zero Watch

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Greater energy independence is needed in the UK, urgently. The current dependence on unstorable wind energy is ridiculous, yet the BBC never questions the effectiveness or the cost of this foolish energy policy.

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