At the present time, the National Grid refuses energy from wind turbines on 25 days each year. On these occasions, the unsteady surge of power from wind turbines has to be switched off to avoid overloading the transmission networks.
The National Grid said on Monday 13 Jun 2011 that in future this will increase to 38 days per year as the number of wind turbines increases.
This statement casts doubt on the Government's decision to continue expanding its unsuccessful wind programme. Theit aim, apparently, is to increase the amount of wind power sevenfold by 2020.
Wind farm operators are given large amounts of money to keep their turbines idle on these occasions. Opinion from the industry puts the figure at £300 million per year by 2020, with the cost being passed to consumers.
Wind power cannot be stored. When the input threatens to overload or destabilise the transmission network the most likely option is to switch the turbines off.
The amount of money paid to wind farm operators to keep their turbines stationary during May 2011 was £2.6 million.
In the first week of June 2011, Scottish Power said it would increase gas and electricity bills by 19% and 10% respectively from August. This adds £175 per year to the average bill.
Wind farm operators are paid large subsidies which exceed the value of the energy which the turbines generate. This means that whatever energy is generated, the consumer pays twice; once for the energy and once for the subsidy. The average turbine generates power worth about £150,000 per year but the consumer has to cover the cost of the subsidy; about £250,000.
Total cost: £400,000 for energy worth £150,000.
Dr. John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said that the consumer burden entailed by the renewables policy is looking increasingly unsustainable.
In case you've not seen it before, click on the headline below to find out how the "Renewables Obligation" works.
14 Jun 2011
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