Wind Farms Paid £30m To Shut Down During High Winds

  • Date: 23/02/14
  • Tim Ross,, The Sunday Telegraph

Energy minister Michael Fallon orders wind farms to cut compensation charges as figures show they are paid millions for turbines to stand still in stormy weather

Ministers are launching a fresh crackdown on the compensation charges – which ultimately end up on customers’ bills - and are threatening to force power companies to reduce the cost of the payments

Ministers are launching a fresh crackdown on the compensation charges – which ultimately end up on customers’ bills – and are threatening to force power companies to reduce the cost of the payments Photo: ALAMY
 
Onshore wind farms are being paid £30 million a year to sit idle during the windiest weather.

The payments are made because the cables which transmit power from the turbines to the National Grid cannot cope with the amount of electricity they produce during stormy conditions.

Ministers are launching a fresh crackdown on the compensation charges – which ultimately end up on customers’ bills – and are threatening to force power companies to reduce the cost of the payments.

Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, has written to renewable power companies warning that he is ready to change the law to force wind farms to lower their prices if they fail to cut the costs voluntarily.

The scale of the compensation payments, which can be disclosed for the first time, will fuel opposition to wind generators from campaigners who argue that they are inefficient and blight the landscape.

These subsidies are set by the government but paid ultimately from customers’ household bills.[...]

The total amount paid out through these compensation arrangements – known as “constraint payments” – has risen dramatically in the last four years as the number of onshore wind turbines has grown. Between 2010 and October 2012, £17.8 million was paid in total.

But new figures based on Ofgem data disclose that these payments are expected to cost consumers £30 million this year.

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