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Santa’s Christmas present for wind farms

February 4, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Hugh Sharman


With recent events in mind, it is worth reposting this article from from the Renewable Energy Foundation, published om 30/12/16:


Over the Christmas period, high winds accompanying Storms Barbara and Conor combined with low demand for electricity to deliver a £7 million gift to the owners of wind farms in the form of constraint payments. Constraint payments occur when wind farms are paid not to generate, usually in periods when wind generation is surplus to demand. The bulk of these payments are made when wind generation cannot be used in Scotland, and there is insufficient grid capacity to export the energy to England. The cost of these payments is borne by electricity bill payers throughout the United Kingdom.

The peak payments over the current holiday season were made on Christmas Day, as summarised in the following table drawn from the REF datasets:

Date Cost GWh Average Price per MWh Number of wind farms
22-Dec-2016 £900,546 13.7 £66 29
23-Dec-2016 £1,121,658 17.5 £64 26
24-Dec-2016 £1,412,780 21.1 £67 27
25-Dec-2016 £2,075,340 31.4 £66 31
26-Dec-2016 £1,492,452 22.7 £66 25

The big earning companies were Scottish Power (SP) and Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) which made £3.5 million and £2.5 million respectively over this period…..

There are now 52 wind farms in the United Kingdom that receive constraint payments; 37 are onshore, all of which are located in Scotland. To date, these wind farms have received a total of over £274 million from electricity bill payers for not generating.


Read the full post here



  1. John Palmer permalink
    February 4, 2017 11:14 am

    Paul… you’re becoming a really grumpy man. Chill out! After all, it’s not real money, just Govt Money – and as we all know, that comes free – and without accountability or responsibility. At least, it does if you’re in the Green or RE Sectors.
    Get on-message, man! 😡

    • February 4, 2017 11:52 am

      Actually it falls hardest on those in fuel poverty, who pay a larger proportion of their income on electricity. The Government won’t tell you that.

  2. Hivemind permalink
    February 4, 2017 11:41 am

    “Constraint payments”. That is just sickening.

  3. roger permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:02 pm

    Would an independent Scotland require the existing plethora of subsidies across it’s industries, and if so, who would pay them?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:02 pm

    Let’s not beat about the bush, Constraint Payments are compensation for subsidies not received.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:07 pm

    From the REF link:

    “(Constraint Payment) …… is to compensate for the subsidy forgone when a wind farm is constrained off the grid”

  6. February 4, 2017 12:10 pm

    Try to coerce Mr Trump to immigrate to the UK!

  7. Joe Public permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:44 pm

    It’s worse than we thought……

    During that same period 22-26th Dec, besides paying windmills to not generate, GB power consumers were simultaneously paying over-generous FiTs for up to 0.6GW of solar to be supplied.

  8. February 4, 2017 2:47 pm

    Apparently the bounds of human tolerance for being used are indeed limitless.

  9. Bitter&twisted permalink
    February 4, 2017 4:34 pm

    “Constraint payments”. Constrain the use of energy by the poor who pay the rich for the privilege of freezing in their own homes.
    That is the reality of “green” energy.

  10. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 5, 2017 12:43 am

    Constraint payments are also commonplace whenever wind forecast production is close to maximum utilisation – i.e. when it’s very windy. Look at this chart for 2015:

    It’s the very low incidence of actual high values of wind production at the right hand side that gives the game away. Curtailment issues are only going to get worse as we introduce more “renewables” onto the grid. Euan Mearns had a nice post on this recently, incorporating solar and a fleet of tidal lagoons:

  11. February 8, 2017 2:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Worth repeating, wind farm operators paid £274m not to produce electricity.

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