Wind farms were paid a record £8.7 million last month to switch off, according to figures that show how an increasing amount of subsidised renewable energy is being wasted.
National Grid made the “constraint payments” to 27 wind farms because it was unable to use their electricity at the time it was generated, the Renewable Energy Foundation said.
Analysis of electricity market data by the foundation, which lobbies against wind turbines, shows that payments to their operators not to generate have risen rapidly in the past four years.
A total of £32 million was paid last year, up from £6 million in 2012 and £174,000 in 2010, the foundation said.
The previous highest monthly payment was in August last year, when operators were paid just over £8 million in constraint payments.
John Constable, the foundation’s director, said that part of the reason for the increase in payments was the rise in the number of wind farms. However, he said that the overriding reason was that too many wind farms had been built in remote areas of Scotland. Inadequacies in the transmission system meant it was often difficult to transport the electricity to areas of high demand in England.