Wind farm constraint payments are out of control
New paper on Balancing Mechanism and
Balancing Mechanism and Connect & Manage Constraint Payments to Windfarms
Connect & Manage Constraint Payments to Windfarms
(Prepared 5th Nov. 2013, updated 3rd Jan. 2014)
National Grid (NG) balances supply and demand for electrical power through the Balancing Mechanism (BM). The daytime/night-time, weekday/weekend, summer/winter etc fluctuations are largely self-regulated, which means that if there is to be no demand then the electricity is not generated. NG does the fine tuning second by second... Read more...
There has been a lot of coverage in the press recently about the spiralling cost of Constraint Payments to windfarms when National Grid asks them to stop producing electricity when there is insufficient capacity in the transmission system. It is clear that there is growing unease about the sums being paid but it is also clear that the potential magnitude of cost has not yet been recognised.
Stuart Young, author of “Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation, November 2008 to December 2010” (The John Muir Report) has revised and updated a Briefing Note written originally in November 2013, to include payments up to 31st December 2013, and includes an explanation of the potentially enormous cost of the Connect and Manage Regime which allows generators to connect to the Grid long in advance of the necessary transmission upgrades.
- THE NATIONAL GRID SYSTEM CANNOT COPE WITH THE WIND FARMS CONNECTED NOW AND IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE AS MORE AND MORE ARE APPROVED
- THE PAYMENTS TO THEM TO SHUT DOWN WILL BECOME EVEN MORE LUDICROUS
- NATIONAL GRID HAVE SIGNED CONNECTION CONTRACTS FOR A FURTHER 36.5GW OF POWER GENERATION OVER, ON AVERAGE, FIVE YEARS BEFORE THE GRID HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO ACCEPT THAT POWER
ESTIMATED CONSTRAINT PAYMENTS: £20.7 BILLION
£1.16 MILLION PAID IN WINDFARM CONSTRAINTS SINCE 31ST DECEMBER, £250K TO WHITELEE ALONE.
NOTES FROM ATTACHED PAPER:
- Windfarms paid handsomely to shut down to avoid instability of the grid caused by their own generation
- Conventional generation shut down and compensated to allow more expensive wind on to the system, which then often has to be shut down when there is no room on the grid and is also compensated, but at higher prices
- Adding more windfarms increases the amount of generation to be constrained off when generation exceeds grid capacity
- Whitelee Windfarm was connected 8 years before the grid was capable of managing its generation and has been paid £8.3 million so far to not generate
- National Grid's estimate for Constraint and Manage cost for all of 2013 was up to £18 million but £17million paid in only three months for 600MW of generation capacity
- National Grid has signed contracts to connect 36.5GW of generation capacity on average five years "ahead of the completion of any wider transmission system reinforcements required under the security standards."
- If 600MW of generation connected three months ahead of transmission reinforcements cost £17million, by simple arithmetic 36.5GW of generation connected five years ahead will cost £20.7 billion
- Windfarm constraint payments under the Balancing Mechanism now total £51,632,473, up £5.6million since 3rd November 2013
- DEFINITIONS: Connect and manage - "costs arising from the management of these constraints are socialised." Socialised - "spread across all Grid users, who in turn spread them across their Customers" ie Energy consumers pay whether domestic or industrial. Industry will pass their share of costs to the consumer. The domestic consumer pays it all.
MEETING BETWEEN TWO HIGHLAND ANTI WIND FARM CAMPAIGNERS AND ENERGY MINISTER FERGUS EWING
On 10th December 2013, following above meeting at Holyrood, it was confirmed that the Scottish Government:
- is unable to confirm numbers of turbines under construction, approved or in the planning process across Scotland because there is no central data base; the requested information has still not been received
- does not know how many more turbines it requires nor has it any targets for turbine numbers
- is not prepared to halt applications into the planning process until approved wind farms are constructed
- does not need to see if the Scottish landscape can absorb any more developments or if those constructed are delivering the amount of power promised
- does not see the need to allow councils to catch up with backlogs of applications
- does not accept communities need a break from being targeted by wind farm developers and admits that wild land protection will mean more pressure on communities to host industrial turbines ie wild land protection does not mean a reduction in turbine number
More planning applications means more approvals means more constraint payments
( Courtesy of )