GB News are currently reporting that new capacity additions to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) subsidy scheme have dried up completely, as windfarms put back their CfD start dates, and sell into the open market instead.
One of the windfarms that has decided to shun its contract is Moray East, a windfarm that regular readers know has been a particular focus of mine, because its very low-priced CfD is far below its underlying costs, which are, in common with the rest of the offshore wind industry, extraordinarily expensive. A year ago, with market prices around the £50/MWh mark, it looked as though it was guaranteed to make losses. But now, market prices having soared to £200 or more, and with its CfD shelved for the time being, it will be making very healthy profits indeed.
There is another interesting angle to Moray East’s performance though. According to the data held by the Renewable Energy Foundation, between October last year and February this year, the windfarm received constraints payments – cash for switching off (or switching down) – equivalent to 414 GWh. Over the same period, it generated 1209 GWh. In other words, it is being constrained off as much as 25% of the time! The cost to you, the consumer, was around £25 million.
From one windfarm. In six months.
It is hard to be polite about such wastefulness.