Wind farms were paid £53m to switch off turbines

During 2014, thirty of the UK’s largest wind farms, which include Crystal Rig and Fallago Rig in the Lammermuirs, were paid over £53 million to turn off their turbines.

A windy start to 2015 meant that in the first fortnight of the year £7.6 million was paid out to wind farm operators to stop the turbines, otherwise too much electricity would have been made which could not be stored. £1 million was paid out on three of the new year’s particuarly windy days.

Over the past year Fallago Rig operators have been paid £1.8 million to turn off wind turbines and reduce the amount of electricity they produce.

And they have already received over £250,000, turning off turbines on five of the first 12 days of 2015.

Crystal Rig wind farm operators have been paid £648,081 since August 2014 and on January 1 and 2 this year earned £40,714 by turning off turbines.

Payments to the 30 largest wind farms to turn off their turbines and reduce electricity are courtesy of their participation in the National Grid’s balancing mechanism which matches electricity demand to electricity supply.

This is necessary because electricity cannot be stored in any significant volume. Consequently, as demand for electricity goes up and down during the day, electricity supply must also be increased and decreased to match on a second by second basis.

The Balancing Mechanism allows National Grid to accept bids and offers from participating electricity generators to decrease or increase electricity generation.