Wind farms are receiving millions of pounds to shut down when the weather is too windy, The Times has learnt. Dozens of onshore facilities shared £25 million last year, a 13,733 per cent increase on 2010, after a particularly blustery year, according to the figures released by National Grid.
The payments to stop operating are made by National Grid because it cannot cope with the amount of power being fed on to the system when it is very windy. But experts and consumer groups have accused wind-farm operators of abusing the system by demanding excessive payments.
Ultimately, the cost of being shut down is passed on to households because National Grid charges energy suppliers, who add the levy to bills.
Wind farms already receive large subsidies from consumers because they cost more to operate than coal and gas plants but produce no carbon emissions.
In total last year National Grid paid operators to stop generating for 149,983 megawatt-hours, equivalent to 1.49 per cent of the total electricity generated by Britain’s wind farms. This is equivalent to one large onshore farm being paid to be switched off all year.