Wind farms were paid more than £1.8 million to shut down this week – at a time when consumers face huge rises in energy bills because of the spiralling cost of natural gas.
The turbines were switched off over the course of three days because the electricity they would have produced could not have reached the regions that needed it.
Instead, electricity from gas-fired power stations was used at a further cost to consumers of several million pounds.
An analysis by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a charitable think tank that has criticised wind energy over its reliability and cost, found that 38 wind farms – all in Scotland – received payments totalling £1.85 million over the course of three days not to generate electricity.
The constraint payments are made by the National Grid to balance supply and demand across the electricity network. Payments tend to be highest on warm, windy days when turbines can produce a lot of electricity that is not needed.
‘High winds, low winds – whatever the weather, the consumer suffers’
Dr John Constable, the director of REF, said: “Uncontrollable and heavily subsidised generation such as wind-power has made the UK electricity system into a costly and dysfunctional joke.