When The Wind Blows Too Hard

by Brian McGraw on July 13, 2011

in Blog

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For some reason, utility contracts in Scotland are written such that companies are paid for energy that the utility cannot use. In this case, The Telegraph estimates that the payments were worth up to 20 times the actual value of the electricity under normal conditions:

The payments, worth up to 20 times the value of the power they would have produced, raises serious concerns about such subsidies, which are paid for by the customer.

The six Scottish wind farms were asked to stop producing electricity on a particularly windy night last month as the National Grid was overloaded.

Their transition cables do not have the capacity to transfer the power to England and so they were switched off and the operators received compensation. One operator received £312,000, while another benefited by £263,000.

Many people acknowledge the shortcomings of wind power in terms of its variable availability, but usually in terms of the wind not blowing hard enough. This isn’t a knock on wind energy per se, more a knock on contracts written that dole out enormous amount of taxpayer dollars when the turbines have to power down. Nonetheless, it stresses the importance of energy sources that can provide consistent base load power, ramping up and down when needed.

Via Knowledge Problem.

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