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Now we subsidise windmills NOT to generate! Bonkers?
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 12:25 pm    Post subject: Now we subsidise windmills NOT to generate! Bonkers? Reply with quote

Today's Sunday Times . . .

Wind farms paid £900,000 to switch off
Jonathan Leake and Mark Macaskill

Wind farm operators in Scotland were paid nearly £900,000 to keep their turbines idle for a night because the National Grid did not need the power.

The payments, in some cases 20 times the value of the power the six wind farms would have produced, were offered by the National Grid because it urgently needed to reduce electricity entering the system.

It was oversupplied with power on a wet and blustery night last month when demand for electricity was low.

Although the power could have been used in England, the transmission cables lacked the capacity to carry it south. The Scottish turbines were disconnected and operators received six-figure payments to compensate for the loss of their subsidy for generating green energy. The English demand was met mainly from fossil fuels.

The disclosure of the subsidy payments has called into question the economic logic of the subsidies paid out to wind farms. It will prove embarrassing for the wind industry and pose awkward questions for Charles Hendry, the energy minister, because the cost of the payments ends up on customers' bills.

A typical turbine generates power worth about £150,000 a year, but attracts subsidies worth £250,000 — designed to encourage power companies to create more wind farms. The subsidies are added directly to consumer bills.

The payments emerged in research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a green think tank.

John Constable, its director of policy and research, blamed the government for building too many wind farms in northern Britain without ensuring there were enough high-voltage cables to take the power southwards to cities where it was most needed.

"Hasty attempts to meet targets for renewable energy mean some Scottish wind farms are now in the extraordinary position of not only printing money when they generate, but printing it even faster when they throw their energy away," he said.

In the switch-off, Scottish Power, which owns Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow, received more than £312,000 to stop production for about six hours, four times the wholesale value of the power it would have generated in that time.

Similarly, Farr wind farm, a 40-turbine development 10 miles south of Inverness run by Npower Renewables, was paid £263,000 to switch off for a few hours. Here the payment was about 20 times the value of the power it would have generated.

The other wind farms whose operators were paid to disconnect included Hadyard Hill, whose 52 turbines are operated by Scottish and Southern Energy. On land in South Ayrshire part-owned by Alex Fergusson, presiding officer of the Scottish parliament, the turbine operator was paid £134,000 to switch off — about 3.5 times the value of the power it would have produced.

The discrepancy in the amounts is because separate supply deals are negotiated with each wind farm.

Wind turbines produce less than 5% of power needs. Britain is committed to a target of producing 20% of power from renewable sources by 2020.

The National Grid confirmed it had made the payments. "On the night of April 5 and 6, the demand for power was low but the nuclear generation plants in Scotland were running as expected. There was also heavy rainfall which meant hydro power plants were operating well, too," a spokesman said.

Compensation payouts

Whitelee: £312,654
Harvard Hill: £134,095
Black Law: £132,263
Farr2: £132,012
Farr1: £131,472
Millenium: £32,334
Total: £875,030


Paid to operators to cease power production on nights of April 5-8, 2011

Expect more of this. It's what happens in those countries where there's lots of wind.

(Awaits usual nutter replies pointing out this is a GOOD thing, and other such twaddle).
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This procedure allows base load coal and nuclear power stations to continue operating safely. It is easier to shut down a wind turbine quickly for load following than a nuke but of course the owner is paid for his role in protecting the system.

The issue of under-capacity of the Scottish transmission system is well known and is being addressed, albeit it slowly as planning consents in a democracy are slow to obtain.

(Just pointing out that this is a GOOD thing. No twaddle involved.)
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
This procedure allows base load coal and nuclear power stations to continue operating safely. It is easier to shut down a wind turbine quickly for load following than a nuke but of course the owner is paid for his role in protecting the system.

In which case they'd receive the usual 'constrained off' payment; that does not run at 20 times the market rate. And why were they running the hydro plant at the same time? That's despatchable, the bulk of Scotlands hydro involves storage dams, so why were these not switched off?


biffvernon wrote:
The issue of under-capacity of the Scottish transmission system is well known and is being addressed, albeit it slowly as planning consents in a democracy are slow to obtain.



It's been a feature for decades, determined mainly by the geographic difficulties of constructing lines across the border. For the same reason, Spain sits as a peninsular grid to the European grid. So given this difficulty, why is the Scottish Assembly (not government) set on a programme of massive windmill installation?

I really don't understand why they've been paid these sums and I hope this is investigated by Ofgem.

But a comendable lack of twaddle.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Now we subsidise windmills NOT to generate! Bonkers? Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
Today's Sunday Times . . .

Wind farms paid £900,000 to switch off
Jonathan Leake and Mark Macaskill

It is normal to quote a source. What is the source for this? I can't see it on the Sunday Times site, nor is it findable via Google News.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes indeed, along with the usual piffle, stuff and nonsense and errors, he has even got his source wrong this time aswell.

It was the anti-wind ref ghost writing in the Sunday Torygraph!
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it may have been in the Sunday Times, but it is not visible on the internet.

Anyway, I've now found the original from which the ST article (both of them, allegedly) were written.

Quote:
High Rewards for Wind Farms Discarding Electricity 5th-6th April 2011

Sunday, 01 May 2011

In the recent April Operational Forum, National Grid revealed that substantial “constraint” payments were made to a number of Scottish wind farms in the first week of April1. A constraint occurs when the grid system or a section of the system is unable to absorb all the electricity being generated, and some generators that are contracted to generate must be asked to stand down.

The April event occurred because the Scottish grid network could not absorb all the energy being generated, and chose to constrain wind power off the system, paying very high prices to compensate wind generators for the lost income, in some cases as high as 20 times the value of the electricity which would otherwise have been generated. In total approximately £890,000 pounds was paid over a few hours to six wind farms, these costs being ultimately destined to pass on to the consumer.

In the recent April Operational Forum, National Grid revealed that substantial “constraint” payments were made to a number of Scottish wind farms in the first week of April. A constraint occurs when the grid system or a section of the system is unable to absorb all the electricity being generated, and some generators that are contracted to generate must be asked to stand down.

The April event occurred because the Scottish grid network could not absorb all the energy being generated, and chose to constrain wind power off the system, paying very high prices to compensate wind generators for the lost income, in some cases as high as 20 times the value of the electricity which would otherwise have been generated. In total approximately £890,000 pounds was paid over a few hours to six wind farms, these costs being ultimately destined to pass on to the consumer.

REF has consistently argued that the scale and pace of wind power development has exceeded the ability of the system to integrate this uncontrollable energy source, and that high costs to the consumer would result as a consequence. Writing in the preface to Paul-Frederik Bach’s 2010 study for REF, Professor Michael Laughton observed:

'The outstanding major concern in the work reported here, and one with very serious implications – especially for the United Kingdom with its predominantly island system with inadequate international interconnection capacity – is the extent to which subsidized wind power can, in practice, be used within the system without needing to be constrained off: in other words wasted, or exported at whatever market prices, perhaps disadvantageous ones, prevail elsewhere.2'

The payments on the 5-6 April confirm the reality of these concerns, even at relatively low levels of wind power currently installed in the UK (just over 5 GW of capacity) and are a worrying sign of things to come.

We conclude that the scale and pace of wind development in the United Kingdom needs to be rethought, and more emphasis placed on the provision of economical solutions to the grid-balancing problem. Some will judge that constraint payments show that the grid network, particularly that interconnecting England and Scotland, needs to be expanded. However, it should be noted that such network enhancement is not cost free, and would have a very significant impact on consumer bills. Indeed, all the currently available solutions for the problems posed by uncontrollable generation such as wind power are expensive. It is conceivable that invention and innovation could reduce these costs, but at present the subsidies to renewables and the socialization of integration costs mean that there is no commercial incentive for technologists to seek less expensive solutions.

We note that it is at least arguable that more flexible renewable generators, including dedicated biomass, biomass cofiring, anaerobic digestion, and energy from waste are under-represented in the renewables mix. This should be remedied, not least because they can be integrated into the system at lower cost to the consumer.

High Wind and Heavy Rain on the 5-6 of April

National Grid describe the requirement to reduce power output on the 5-6th of April as being due to strong winds and heavy rain in Scotland over that night. This resulted in surplus wind and hydro output at a time when the options for absorbing the excess power – pumped storage or export to England, for example – were not sufficient, though National Grid has not yet provided details of these problems.

National Grid is required to balance the supply and demand of electricity at all times, whatever fluctuations occur in each. The electricity Balancing Market exists to facilitate this and allows electricity generators to submit offers to sell and bids to buy energy from the system by increasing or decreasing generation. As necessary, the most cost-effective offers and bids are accepted by the electricity grid operator to balance the system, taking into consideration physical system constraints, such as grid bottlenecks and the ability of generators to deliver within the timescales required.

The National Grid report demonstrates that there was a limited range of power stations capable of reducing output on request in early April, and that the costs of paying these generators to reduce their output covered a substantial range. The most economical plant was coal-fired, which offered to pay £28 per MWh not to run. Some coal-fired, gas fired and hydro generators were willing to reduce output at no cost, but some of these relatively economical offers could not be taken up by NG because the electricity system must always have access sufficient controllable and flexible electricity generation sources to ramp up and down in order to maintain system frequency.

Due to these limited options National Grid was obliged to pay wind farms to reduce output. The offer prices which the various Scottish wind farms set for such a reduction ranged from £150 per MWh to £1,000 MWh. Fossil-fuelled power stations routinely pay into the system when asked to reduce output because they still receive their contracted payments, but also make savings on the fuel they have not had to burn.

Conversely, wind farms, when asked to reduce output, forego subsidies worth approximately £50-£55 per MWh, from the Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs), so require payment so as not to be out of pocket.

However, it can be seen from the National Grid report and other data in the public domain, that the wind farm operators that were paid to reduce output on the 5-6th April set prices significantly in excess of this level.

For example, Farr wind farm was paid £800 per MWh to reduce output, nearly 16 times the value of the subsidy foregone. The following list shows the wind farms compensated for not generating in the first part of April 2011.

Wind Farm
Rate Paid per MWh
Total paid in April 2011
Wind Farm Owner


Whitelee
£180
£308,000
Scottish Power

Farr
£800
£265,000
RWE nPower

Hadyard Hill
£140
£140,000
SSE Renewables

Black Law
£180
£130,000
Scottish Power

Millennium
£300
£33,000
Falck Renewables

Beinn Tharsuin
£180
£11,500
Scottish Power

From REF’s research, it appears that there have been other occasions when wind farms have been paid to reduce output, starting from a National Grid test run involving Whitelee and Black Law in May 2010. The set of wind farms paid to date to reduce generation appears to consist of the same six listed above. The following map shows the location of the wind farms.


Figure 1 : Location of wind farms that have received payments to reduce output to 30 April 2011.

It seems that Hadyard Hill is most likely to be asked to curtail power, having reduced output on 5 dates in April 2011. Whitelee has received the largest total sum as a result of being paid to reduce output on 30 May 2010 (the test run), on the 29th of October 2010, and on the 6th of April 2011. We estimate the total paid to Whitelee’s owners for these curtailments is approximately £460,000. These payments are in addition to the subsidy payments enjoyed by Whitelee of approximately £28 million per annum, and lead to the observation that constraint payments are already likely to be a significant proportion of the total income of some wind farms.

REF estimates that the constraint payments made to wind farms to date have reached approximately £1 million.



1. http://www.nationalgrid.com/NR/rdonlyres/4867F8D6-28E4-4335-BF0A-EAE4592920D3/46496/01_OperationalUpdate.pdf

2. Michael Laughton, “Introduction”, in Paul-Frederik Bach, The Variability of Wind Power: Collected Essays 2009-2010 (REF: London, 2010), viii. Freely available from REF, on request.

3. For a more detailed description of the electricity balancing market see for example, http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/GettingConnected/FAQs/Whatisthebalancingmarket.htm

4. See p6 of the NG April Operational Update document

5. See for example, www.bmreports.com and the more detailed Tibco service data available at http://www.bmreports.com/tibcodata/yyyy-mm-dd/

6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/7840035/Firms-paid-to-shut-down-wind-farms-when-the-wind-is-blowing.html





Dr John Constable

Dr Lee Moroney

01.05.11


Original


About the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF)
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We're not anti-wind farms - but they should be offshore

Britain is wasting up to £1bn a year on subsidies for ineffective turbines, writes John Constable

Full article (from 2007)

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh no. This is really about REF http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/feature/2025862/renewable-energy-foundation

Dale Vince wrote:
They are not a Foundation for Renewable Energy, as their name says and as any reasonable person would conclude from their name – they actually exist to undermine Renewable Energy. It's made for the anti-wind newspapers of course, like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, who can quote from this organisation that appears, from their very name, to be all about supporting Renewable energy – adding weight to their anti-wind stance in print.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Constable seems to be quite active against wind farms.

http://www.soul-online.co.uk/news.html

http://www.artistsagainstwindfarms.com/walks/higher-darracott/walk-june8.html

Profile: http://www.123people.co.uk/s/dr+john+constable
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Evenin' all
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

perhaps someone in Private Eye wrote:
Could he and the inspector be related? I think we should be told...

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the contents of the REF website are very interesting in relation to what has been posted on here.

If the renewables industry is not funding REF, who is? Who is REF a front for?

Some research might turn up some interesting connections, although I suspect that a bunch of shills working together - or even just one or two, planting items about wind energy in the news and responding with comments about nuclear could hide their tracks quite easily.
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those bleating about my lack of links and references should remember that unless you subscribe to the Times/ST you can't use their web site. That's why I pasted the text (which was scanned from hard-copy). For those claiming I didn't identify the source, I draw their attention to the first three words of my OP.

REF made an announcement about this incident yesterday as well - just picked that up:
http://www.ref.org.uk/publications/231-high-rewards-for-wind-farms-discarding-electricity-5th-6th-april-2011
(This is the unreferenced information pasted by Foodimista - perhaps he should practise what he preaches and identify his sources better!).

Is this REF or the ST making the running? I would suggest both, pump-primed by information from NGT. If NGT hadn't revealed these payments I don't know how they would have come to light. Incidentally, the ST were on this case well before Sunday.

As for the REF, it is entirely privately funded. If it is a 'bunch of schills' then it's hard to see who these people are 'schilling' for. Certainly not the generation companies because they're making money hand-over-fist from ROCs.

The main guilty parties here would seem to be NGT (they could claim they're only following the rules, but the more 'grid' money passes through their hands, the bigger their cut), Ofgem for not controlling constraint policy, and UK gov (for years) making the electricity market rules a buggers' muddle.
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The REF include, as far as I know, quite a few people who are simply rich, who own land, and who don't want wind farms near them because they "Don't Look Nice". Noel Edmonds is one name I've heard bandied about.

They have the money to commission research which turns up any bad news about wind farms (e.g. sometimes the wind doesn't blow), without bothering also to find any good news, or indeed to pose much in the way of an alternative (although they might have attracted some nuclear people by now faIk).
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
(This is the unreferenced information pasted by Foodimista - perhaps he should practise what he preaches and identify his sources better!).

But I did sweetie. Didn't you see the Original?
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