Wind farms paid record £.9.3m to switch off their turbines on Friday


May 24, 2020 tags: wind power

By Paul Homewood


Wind farms in Britain were paid a record £.9.3m to switch off their turbines on Friday, The Telegraph can disclose.

More than 80 plants across England and Scotland were handed the so-called ‘constraint payments’, when supply outstrips demand, by the National Grid, as thousands of buildings lying empty following the coronavirus lockdown contributed to a nosedive in demand for energy.

In what has been declared a “national embarrassment” and a power management “disgrace” by campaigners, consumers will ultimately foot the bill of £6.9m to 66 Scottish plants and £1.9m to 14 offshore plants in England.

This is almost double the previous single day record payout to wind farm operators, which was £4.8m on Oct 8, 2018, when turbines were switched off because it became too windy.

It is believed the low demand for electricity on May 22 was due to windy and sunny weather this week, with solar panels likely to have produced a lot of energy, combined with the lack of demand for power given the Covid-19 lockdown which has seen many businesses close.

So worrying was the development that the National Grid issued an alert to stop it happening for a second day running.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a UK charity that monitors energy use, said: “Overdeployment of renewables in the UK, particularly uncontrollable wind and solar, has resulted in a very fragile electricity system, which is inflexible and unable to deal with accidents and unexpected circumstances at a reasonable cost to consumers.

“Grid balancing expenditure so far this year is already horrific and by the end of the summer it will be terrifying.

“This is a national embarrassment and a disgrace to the management of the electricity sector who have complacently allowed this crisis to develop over the last decade.”

The charity previously revealed that the operators of 86 wind farms in Britain were handed a record of more than £136m in constraint payments last year.

RenewableUK’s director of strategic communications, Luke Clark, said: “Wind is one of the UK’s biggest power sources, generating 30% of our electricity in the first quarter of this year.

“Investing in new grid infrastructure is vital so that renewable generators can continue to provide consumers with the massive quantities of cheap electricity we need to achieve net zero emissions.

“Constraint payments are the cheapest way for National Grid to run the electricity network within its current limits.

“All types of generation, including fossil fuels, receive them, but unlike older technologies, wind farms can turn off or on within a matter of seconds, and so wind is often called on by National Grid to vary its output. So it’s actually the best way to keep bills as low as possible.”

Quite why the Telegraph included the inaccurate comments from RenewableUK, the trade body for wind farms is a mystery.

Quite clearly if investing in new grid infrastructure is needed to accommodate wind power, then that cost should be stood by renewable companies, and not passed onto the public.

It is also not true that renewable generators generate massive quantities of cheap electricity. The opposite is the case.

As for the final paragraph, I assume that must be some sort of joke. The National Grid have already told us that their costs of balancing the system are expected to be £500m higher than last year. And this is solely due to the inherent unreliability of wind and solar power to be able to supply the amount of demand on the system on a day by day and hour by hour basis.

Yesterday, constraint payments to wind farms added another £6.9m to our bills, at the extortionate rate of £80/MWh so far this month. The price is so high because wind farms are having to forgo obscene subsidies.


Currently, market prices for power are down to £14/MWh, but consumers are not able to fully benefit from this.

Instead, consumers are forced to pay prices of between £139 and £173/MWh for the six offshore wind farms currently operating under Contracts for Difference:

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B d Clark
May 25, 2020 10:15 am

Just goes to show they produce when people dont need it,and cant cope (as a sole supplier in winter)

And the only reason they exist is this crazy idea the companies that own them have contracts guaranteeing being paid if they produce or not.

Can I have a job like that please.

Bill Powers
Reply to  B d Clark
May 25, 2020 10:54 am

Imagine the journalistic uproar if taxpayers had to pay Exxon not to pump oil.

Reply to  Bill Powers
May 25, 2020 8:00 pm

Exactly what is “£.9.3m”?

Is it £0.93m? Is is £9.3m?

C’mon! We’re meant to be the ones who aren’t scared of numbers.

Charles Nelson
Reply to  Observer
May 26, 2020 2:40 am

Well, logic would suggest that a payment of .93m (nine hundred and thirty thousand pounds) which is less than 1 m (one million pounds)…would barely be worth writing a story about.
My guess would be 9.3m (nine point three million pounds.
But I could be wrong.

Stephen Skinner
May 25, 2020 10:19 am

I’m in the wrong business. If your in wind it looks like it’s a win win business with no chance of failure. Now, where does the money come from to prop it all up and are those businesses protected from failure?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
May 25, 2020 10:51 am

In the US they fail (go into bankruptcy) when they hit their 10 year or 20 year end of tax and production credits and need replacing. All they are really harvesting during those years is tax payer money for their owners and investors. Any actual wind (or solar) power they produce is incidental to the owner’s bottom line calculations since they also get paid not to produce.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 25, 2020 12:44 pm
Reply to  Latitude
May 25, 2020 4:45 pm

That is heartbreaking to see Latitude. They call it clean waste, but I fear that solar panels are being buried too and they are not clean.

The images in that link were bad enough but landfill only has so much capacity. We’ve got millions of acres taken up globally with operational wind and solar and it looks like we’re going to have millions of acres taken up with it’s waste.

Clean, green renewable energy, free from the wind and sun. What a joke, what part of that sentence is true?

And the people who promote this obscenity call themselves environmentalists.

Bryan A
Reply to  Megs
May 25, 2020 9:40 pm

They do have a bunch of nearly vacated, not yet restored, open pit coal mines they could use

Reply to  Bryan A
May 25, 2020 11:27 pm

Yeah sounds practical but to me it’s a sad reminder of the coal mines being closed down. I live in a coal mining region and there are some magnificent old towns that date back to the gold rush era. The history, stone churches, clock towers and beautiful lace terraced pubs. Many of them are in wine regions too and are popular with the tourists.

I don’t know if you had a chance to see Planet of the Humans (which has been taken off YouTube) but there’s an old town in the documentary that’s pretty much a ghostown now. I fear that this is the future of our towns if they close down the mines, it will be a massive loss.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Latitude
May 25, 2020 6:54 pm

You can see in those images the real issue with the blades. All the leading edges are severely worn. Those leading edges strike particles, ice, snow and rain in the air at about 180mph and that causes the wear. They wear out sooner than we have all be lied to about.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
May 25, 2020 10:57 am

too big to fail you ask? Not just a win win but a win win, wind or no wind What a bunch of hot air. Smells like swamp water to me.

Gordon A. Dressler
May 25, 2020 10:25 am

From the above article: “. . . but unlike older technologies, wind farms can turn off or on within a matter of seconds . . .”

Gee, I am really curious as to how that is possible when the wind isn’t blowing.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 25, 2020 10:49 am

Looks like the evaluation is between grid improvements and these payments. No mention in the post of what all in (i.e. including fossil fuel asset retirement obligations and AGW) costs would have been if non renewable sources had been deployed from CAPEX to now, and to the end of the life cycle of these renewables, and the alternate fossil fuel source.

The big fail in eco evaluations is an improper description of the…

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 25, 2020 3:09 pm

“… older technologies …”?
comment image

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 25, 2020 4:29 pm

They almost got it right. They should have said “. . . but unlike newer technologies, wind farms can turn off or on without warning . . .”

h/t Chris Hanley for the first fix.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 25, 2020 11:12 pm

Also, why can’t spinning reserve from ‘older tech’ be turned on/off? This is not explained.

May 26, 2020 7:46 am

Thermal issues. It takes time to cool down or warm up the boilers.

May 26, 2020 8:54 am

A generating unit can be turned off in a millisecond by opening the output breaker. But it can’t be brought back online so easily.

May 25, 2020 10:40 am

Getting paid for doing nothing, a liberals dream world.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
May 25, 2020 9:38 pm

A number of Wakifornians are saying that they might not go back to work because they’re making more on unemployment. Idiots obviously don’t consider that Unemployment payments are only for 6 months. Once that time expires, their benefit will elapse and they won’t have their old job to return to as their employer will have hired someone else to fill their position

John Endicott
Reply to  Bryan A
May 27, 2020 9:06 am

They’re counting on Nancy and Chuck to deliver them more free money. They’re forgetting they need to get it passed Mitch and Don as well.

Brian j in UK
May 25, 2020 10:46 am

The really bad thing about this is that we cannot elect a political party that will put an end to this nonsense as they all believe in it.
Only really serious, frequent, prolonged and widespread winter blackouts will produce change because that will make the existing party in power at the time fear being thrown out at the next election.
Not a nice thing to say but, if many old people freeze to death – and I am one of them – so much the better for the additional impact. The survivors will benefit in the long run.

Julian Flood
May 25, 2020 10:55 am

Stephen Skinner asks where the money comes from to pay the turbine operators. The cost is passed by the electricity generator to the energy company which just adds it to everybody’s bills.

The old, the poor and the sick pay proportionately more of their income on energy. So they subsidise the fat cats with their wind ‘farms’ and solar ‘parks’.

Contracts for difference were invented in the City, that haunt of spive, vampire squids and racketeers. Thank you, Mr Osborne.


Reply to  Julian Flood
May 25, 2020 11:18 pm

Nothing wrong with CFDs themselves and they have nothing to do with Mr Osborne- they were around long before that chinless wonder got his hands on the economy.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Julian Flood
May 29, 2020 7:00 am

Single home Tier 2 energy costs in California just went up by approximately 60%.

Carl Friis-Hansen
May 25, 2020 11:01 am

In mainland western Europe “engineers” want to have loads of grid scale batteries to do the fast balancing. For the slightly longer term balancing they are currently crisscrossing the European continent with both AC and DC links, in the hope that the wind is blowing “correctly” somewhere.

W have not yet begun to see the expenses they will force upon us in order to serve the Green industry.

P.S.: Sorry about the quotation around engineers, but I am beginning to be ashamed of having been an electrical engineer for 40 years.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
May 26, 2020 7:54 am

I was reading a book on lithium ion batteries recently. It seems that at 20C and 100% charge, lithium ion batteries lose about 13% of capacity in the first 5 years. The drop gets steeper after 5 years.
At 80C an 100% charge, they lose almost 30% of capacity in the first 5 years.
If they aren’t charged up all the way, they lose capacity more slowly. (Not charging them up fully kind of defeats the purpose of using them for backup.)

“Lithium-Ion Batter Failures in Consumer Electronics”
Ashisa Aor, Sneha Arun Lele, Noshirwan Medora and Shukri Souri
Artech House
ISBN: 9781630816032

Reply to  MarkW
May 26, 2020 8:33 am

The sweet spot with Li batteries is the charge up to around 90% and discharge down to no less than 20%, if you retain the level of charge between these levels the batteries have an extremely long life, these notes are probably elsewhere in the book, but you’ve chosen to select a few worse case examples.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Phil
May 26, 2020 1:30 pm


They have an effective capacity loss of 30% immediately, if you want them to keep their capacity for a reasonable amount of time!

To put it another way, if you deliberately reduce the effective capacity by 30%, you can prevent a 30% capacity loss within 5 years.

Is a lose/lose situation. That’s quite an achievement. Let’s build hundreds of them immediately!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 26, 2020 3:02 pm

It means that you aim to run them within their optimum capacities most of the time, it doesn’t mean you cant go to 100% charge or even 0% charge in exceptional circumstances.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 26, 2020 3:50 pm

“To put it another way, if you deliberately reduce the effective capacity by 30%, you can prevent a 30% capacity loss within 5 years. ”
If you look after the batteries in this way they’ll retain their capacity for far longer, some Teslas have over 95% capacity after 150,000 miles. Some of the newest batteries are expected to last over 1 Million miles, that’s a lot of charge/discharge cycles. As for the overcapacity requirements, just how often do you use the full power capability of your car.
Battery technology is going through a “growth spurt” with new technologies and are getting more energy dense per Kg, cheaper per Kwh and are being developed using cheaper and more common materials. Also their manufacturing processes are getting cheaper with the use of dry technologies thus reducing the energy required in their manufacture.

B d Clark
Reply to  Phil
May 26, 2020 4:42 pm

What are these cheaper and more common materials? I asked you before with more questions you failed to answer.

Reply to  B d Clark
May 27, 2020 12:36 am

Sulphur and Carbon are two common that are being used in some of the newest batteries in place of cobolt.

B d Clark
Reply to  Phil
May 27, 2020 6:07 am

Both of these alternative batteries sodium and carbon have been around for ten years, they have not progressed beyond phones and such devices, dual carbon batteries made by ryden announced some 6 years ago promising some 18000 units to power mobile devices, nothing has progressed into EVs, the real question here is why not, we are lead to belive in this surposed fast industrial revolution of battery progress that the new batts are just round the corner,even with car manufacturers taking on some of this work,its simply not happening 10 years is long enough with the billions of $ € £ s thrown at these projects ,these promoters of super duper bats are not telling us why after 10 years nothing has materialised into a safe high capacity battery, could it be that the limit of these next generation bats has been reached, they cant power a car to superced a lithium ion battery and looks like there stuck in powering mobile devices, you rather than singing the praises of these next gen batts needs to explain why after 10 years no progress has been made in the scale up to EVs ,its simply not good enough to say they will be here in the next few years, as I’ve already said 10 years and billions of dollars invested already ,we dont see the trumpets of success blowing across the land.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 29, 2020 7:28 am

Excellent observation!

But please note that the advertised “driving range” is frequently (not universally) taken to be from 80% of maximum charge level to 20% of maximum charge level, and that typically start to decrease around 900 charge/discharge cycle, or about 2.5 years if discharging/charging daily (see )

Caveat emptor.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  MarkW
May 27, 2020 4:48 am

Yep. Topping up on the charge is not so good. Think of your camera or phone. The performance of the battery when new, is as good as it gets, thereafter, it starts to fall off. Ideally, you let the battery charge up fully, and then run it all the way down.With the best of intentions, it’s very difficult to stick strictly to that practice.Certainly even more so, for Electric cars.Of course, the cold is an even bigger problem for keeping a charge.

Reply to  Eamon Butler
May 27, 2020 4:55 am

“Ideally, you let the battery charge up fully, and then run it all the way down”
Actually, that’s the worst way to treat the battery in an EV, that method will shorten its life considerably to <500 cycles.
The correct method is to charge to around 80-90% and discharge no less than 10-20% of capacity this will extend the life to over 2000 full charge discharge cycles. As the battery is kept within the extremes the life is greatly extended by several years, often exceeting the expected life of the vehicle.
This does not apply to first generation EV's though. Early Nissan Leafs have severe battery degradation.

bruce ryan
May 25, 2020 12:24 pm

I’d think Branson or somebody could figure a way to gobble up free random energy. That is the real absurdity here. automatic desal plants or distillation…

Michael Talcott
May 25, 2020 12:40 pm

Welcome to Socialism Economics 101.(Section 4-b, “Subsidies”)

1) Subsidize something a Socialist Economist has declared a “social good” which the prospective buyers can’t
or won’t use at the unsubsidized price
a) if they still won’t buy it and you cannot increase the subsidy, mandate that X% of all such stuff bought be
the subsidized item (see ethanol).
2) When a glut of the subsidized item results, pay producers to not produce the item
3) There are always unanticipated (by socialist economists) consequences, e.g. destabilized power grids, loss
of energy efficiency, more actual coal usage. These consequences are know as “Bad Luck.” c.f. R. A.

Tom Abbott
May 25, 2020 1:06 pm

Yeah, about 30 percent wind and solar seems to be where the problems really start to set in for those who want to power their economy with these unreliable power sources.

Eventually, wind and solar will be seen as the folly they really are, but they have a lot of momentum and the poor taxpayers are not finished spending money on them. A lot of people have an interest in that continuing to happen.

Except in Mexico! 🙂

May 25, 2020 1:12 pm

“Quite clearly if investing in new grid infrastructure is needed to accommodate wind power, then that cost should be stood by renewable companies, and not passed onto the public.”

Why? Who paid for old grid infrastructure? Not FF companies.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 25, 2020 2:47 pm

Nick, I have no problem with evaluating, financing, and paying out such NEW projects based on ALL of their incremental costs. Including incremental grid costs (or the short term payments whined about here, if economically preferable), asset retirement costs, environmental, safety, health costs, and AGW costs. The risks and rewards of these projects should be so evaluated, and the project so executed (if indeed found to be economic) without communizing these “external” costs on the rest of us. IMO, if done correctly, you would be quite happy with the outcome…

Bryan A
Reply to  bigoilbob
May 25, 2020 9:27 pm

Where I live that cost is typically carried by the Utility Rate Payers

Reply to  Bryan A
May 26, 2020 5:03 am

“Where I live that cost is typically carried by the Utility Rate Payers”

Here too, and ok by me, and maybe I muddied the waters in my last post. As long as those that pay get the best integrated project evaluation possible, and that those who pay, benefit appropriately. I’m guessing that a B-A life cycle eval was performed on whether to spend major grid CAPEX/OPEX v make these payments. That’s what should have happened….

Martin Howard Keith Brumby
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 25, 2020 3:16 pm

No, Nick Stokes.
Tax payers and electricity users paid for old grid infrastructure.

But they weren’t then having to pay megabucks to the fraudsters who provide intermittent, undispatchable electricity in addition to maintaining the fossil fuel generators who actually supply power when it is needed, but who have to shut down when the breezes and sunbeams decide to supply a bit.

And of course, we also end up paying for the nice brown envelopes received by Ruinables’ supporters and apologists and to the virtue signalling politicians.

Just wait until the peasants with pitchforks and flaming torches arrive outside your ivory tower.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 25, 2020 6:46 pm

Nick that is possibly your most stupid argument ever made … what have FF companies got to do with the power grid? So using that length of string I assume you view FF companies car manufacturers as well?

I suspect most normal non green leftiew view FF companies are simply raw good suppliers to the power generation industry.

Reply to  LdB
May 25, 2020 7:06 pm

“what have FF companies got to do with the power grid? “
OK. But read the quote again. It says that renewable energy companies should pay for grid improvements. Again, why? Again, who paid for the existing grid?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 25, 2020 10:47 pm

If the taxpayer had to pay for an extra lane on every paved road and highway because Tesla’s could only drive on special pavement , would you argue that it’s OK to force the tax payers to accommodate the Tesla drivers because the tax payer paid for the original highway?

You’re losing it Nick, usually you come up with something better. Whoever is paying you should ask for today’s fees to be refunded.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 25, 2020 11:21 pm

Who paid for the existing grid was answered by Martin.

However as renewables are guaranteed a market for their product before any other supplier, and that their product comes at a cost to some other suppliers for balancing and back up, then they should at least contribute to the cost for connecting to the grid, particularly as their sites tend to be far from where the power is needed. It is academic, as ultimately the consumer pays (through the nose) for their ‘service’.

Reply to  Iain Reid
May 25, 2020 11:48 pm

“However as renewables are guaranteed a market for their product before any other supplier”
Where is that true? In Australia, they generally do get a market, but only because with virtually no marginal cost, they can underbid the others.

That is also the reason for the payments celebrated here. As Luke Clark says, it’s just cheaper to force wind to turn off; FF would cost a lot more, because they would consume fuel in the process.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 26, 2020 12:12 am

Existing power generators paid for the grid either solely or in some arrangement with government in almost all countries. In Australia where you live power generators pay the distributors to carry the power and those distributors maintain and add new grid sections. Rewable energy operators in theory are also charged to maintain the grid but there is a history of excluding them to encourage uptake. In theory in Australia with no special exclusion every power generator is going to pay for grid improvement but it leads to the next problem.

In Australia there is an issue you are basically asking existing generators (which many are now private companies) to pay for improvements to help a competitor. Historically most of the networks were government owned so you can’t use history as a guide and the government sold the asset for money in a privatization. We had the same issue with Telstra and old landlines which solved itself somewhat with mobile phones.

So in Australia there is no easy answer the situation is problematic and it is just lucky renewables are only 15% of the grid and a lot of the market players dabble with it so it has not become a major football to the industry.

Capell Aris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 26, 2020 12:20 am

You haven’t heard of Grid Connection charges then?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 26, 2020 7:56 am

Most FF plants are built close to where the grid already exists. Not 10’s to 100’s of miles away from it.

Curious George
May 25, 2020 1:40 pm

“His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn’t earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major’s father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county.”
[Joseph Heller, Catch-22]

Bruce Cobb
May 25, 2020 1:41 pm

Building wind turbines: billions
Shutting off wind turbines (one time): 9.3m
Saving the planet: priceless
There are some things money can’t buy.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 25, 2020 5:41 pm

Saving the planet from what? Maybe some of the Ozzies on this board can tell us about how hot it’s been in Australia this month. We certainly don’t want everyone there to die of heat stroke at the start of winter.

Reply to  rbabcock
May 25, 2020 6:42 pm

rbabcock we were told in the 1990’s that by 2000 we would never see snow again. Of course it’s mainly the alpine regions that get snow on a regular basis anyway but we haven’t missed a snow season yet! Normally you don’t see much in the way of snow till June but we’ve had dumps of snow from April and it’s been more widespread than usual. Long story short, it’s been bloody cold!

I reckon we’re in for a long cold winter, last year was too. ‘Climate’ reports are like polls, you can’t trust them.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  rbabcock
May 26, 2020 1:39 pm

Very cold up here in the tropical North. It was down to a low of 6C and a high of 13C just recently. That’s as cold as I’ve ever felt it here, and it’s not even winter yet. We are recovering a bit now, thank goodness.

May 25, 2020 2:03 pm

Ha, ha, ha, hah! Amazing! Any intelligent, right-minded human being can understand far left-wing Socialism/Communism tactics. The real, true science was clear from the beginning! This stuff only works on small scale homes in the hinterlands by individuals out far from towns and cities. They destroy massive amounts of trees that suck up CO2 (a trace gas of 0.040 of the atmosphere that trails all other warming gases) and kills millions of eagles and other beautiful wildlife – much habitat is lost and when turbines and solar farms get old, they can’t get rid of them! They are a blight on the countryside! Years ahead…the evil leaders and companies who bought into this travesty should spend life in prison, all their assets forfeited, working in labor camps to return these farms back to its natural order. Their families and family trusts having to pay back forever, the people they screwed over. Penalties should be severe! That would stop people from hurting millions and causing the massive death of the poor!

May 25, 2020 2:18 pm

“To help respond to the COVID-19 crisis, EDF has been asked by the National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) to consider reducing output from its Sizewell B power station in Suffolk,” an EDF Energy spokesman said via email.
National Grid said offering capable plants a one-off, fixed term contract was one of a number options it was exploring to help manage the system, and confirmed it was in discussions with EDF over Sizewell B.
“If utilized this approach would give additional options to our control room engineers, as well as being a more cost efficient and secure outcome for consumers too,” a National Grid spokesman said via email.

Industry sources said a contract requiring EDF to half output at the 1,200 megawatt Sizewell B plant for four months could cost National Grid about 50 million pounds.
Neither company would reveal financial details of a possible contract.

May 25, 2020 2:25 pm

This is all good news, but what’s even more significant is that at around £40 per Megawatt Hour (MWh), the price is a third lower than at the last similar power auction held in 2017, when the lowest cost was £57.50/MWh. It’s also below the current wholesale cost, meaning that the new wind farms could generate power more cheaply than existing gas plants.
The new windfarms could be operational as early as 2023. As they’ll be subsidy free, their creation will come at no additional cost to householders – in fact, they could even help bring down energy bills.

Old planning engineer
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 25, 2020 3:45 pm

A couple of things that you failed to mention:

1. The strike price is in 2012 prices. You need to add about 20% to get to 2019 prices and who knows how much to get to 2023 prices when the contract kicks in. The real 2020 price is therefore closer to 50 per MWh.
2. While it is true that the wind farms do not gain from periods of high prices they are unlikely to be generating then due to these periods being when generation is low.
3. The CFD acts as a price floor, i.e. it substantially removes market risk from the project and effectively means that the consumer will be paying this price even when the power cannot be used. Name one other business that gets such attractive terms.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 25, 2020 5:22 pm

Nothing you cited, gfrunt, provided any data disproving this
wind (and solar),
standing on their own with no production or maintenance costs provided by tax/rate subsidies,


The above post was published in 2012. NOTE: NO significant advances in technology have happened to cure wind’s complete UNWORTHINESS as a grid-level power source today.*


Wind: A Special Case

As we have already pointed out, the estimates by Mott MacDonald flatter wind-power as
they made no allowance for any add-on costs. One of the main reasons is that wind-power is unreliable and requires conventional back-up generating capacity when wind speeds are, for example, very low or rapidly varying, which increases the overall costs of wind-power. Mott MacDonald assumed load factors of just 25-31% for onshore wind and 35-45% for offshore wind. (fn. 4)

However, it should be noted that even these figures for load factors can give an impression
of greater reliability than is actually the case
. In spells of very cold weather associated with high pressure areas, when there is enhanced demand for electricity, there tends to be very
little wind.

This analysis was confirmed by BBC weatherman Paul Hudson, who wrote in
January, 2011 (fn.5)

“…during the recent intense cold weather, it’s been our traditional coal and gas fired power stations that have been working flat out to keep our homes and businesses warm. And for the third winter running, the intense cold has gone hand in hand with periods of little or no wind. This should come as no surprise since prolonged cold is invariably associated with areas of high pressure”.

The following chart (chart 3) was included in this BBC report. Wind’s contribution to total
electricity output (53,020 Megawatts) on 21 December 2010 was, according to the BBC,
0.04%. This insight is a useful answer to those who say “the wind is always blowing
somewhere” in defense of wind-power. In Britain on very cold days it effectively is not.


There are several estimates of the additional costs associated with wind-power. For example,
Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) Power, in a report for the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE),
estimated in 2004 that stand-by costs could add around 45% to the costs for onshore wind
and 30% to the costs for offshore wind. (fn. 6)

More recent and detailed estimates are provided in a paper by Colin Gibson, Power Network
Director at the National Grid Group (1993-97), (fn. 7) which are quoted in a recent paper by the
Renewable Energy Foundation.8 Gibson’s cost estimates, the caveats on the accuracy of which are discussed in his paper, are shown in table 1 below.

Gibson identifies three separate additional costs: (fn. 9)

Extra System Costs, which refer to the costs of fast response plant to address the
intermittency, the uncontrolled variability, of wind in the operational timescale, i.e. in
the very short term, or minutes or hours. (fn. 10)

Planning Reserve, which refers to the need to maintain an under-utilized conventional fleet equivalent to peak load (plus a margin) to cover periods when output from the wind fleet falls to extremely low levels – in common parlance “when there’s little or no wind”. Gibson assumes a level of 8% of installed wind capacity.

Required Transmission, which describes the cost of grid needed to transport energy
from wind sites to consumers. Wind farms tend to be situated in the north of the country in order to exploit higher wind speeds to improve load factors. But demand is weighted towards the south of the country. This exacerbates the existing north to south flow of power and brings forward requirements to reinforce the system.


Incorporating the additional costs, and taking our two chosen Mott MacDonald cases as
illustrations, the cost of onshore wind would become quite uneconomic and offshore wind even more absurdly expensive.

Charts 4a and 4b show the effective generating costs including the additional costs.


On the basis of the costings discussed in chapter 2, nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT were the preferred technologies for generating reliable and affordable electricity. On the basis of the evidence presented above, these two technologies are also the preferred technologies for reducing CO2 emissions.

Wind-power fails the test on both counts. It is expensive and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions.

If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity or cutting emissions. … .

Ruth Lea, (with light editing) for Civitas, Electricity Costs: The Folly of Windpower,, (2012) pp. 14-17, 33.;jsessionid=ADBB1283F0C18FA644EC4FBB1337F73F?doi=


*All the reasons which led our rational ancestors replace wind with new and better technology still exist today ( ).

Reply to  Janice Moore
May 26, 2020 9:00 am

Janice Moore May 25, 2020 at 5:22 pm
… The above post was published in 2012. NOTE: NO significant advances in technology have happened to cure wind’s complete UNWORTHINESS as a grid-level power source today.*
You really think nothing has happened in 8 years of development of solar and wind generation.

I really dispair of where you retrieve your information.
This is one of the major criticisms of moored film – using old outdated information.

try this

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
May 27, 2020 8:50 pm


Your articles are about price of power which, as the articles reveal, is still subsidized by taxes and or rate surcharges (and/or higher rates due to market share for “renewables” dictated by regulation, not true price).

Facts are facts. Regardless of whether they were stated today, or yesterday, or 500 years ago.

Nothing you cited [in your mostly unhelpful links on May 26, 2020], gfrunt, provided any data disproving this

wind (and solar),
standing on their own with no production or maintenance costs provided by tax/rate surcharge subsidies,


Price and cost of production and maintenance are not the same thing. Yes. I felt that you needed to be informed of that fact; your cites show that you are confused.

The larger wind turbine blades are NOT helping in a significant way the ROI. What little gain they make in efficiency is outweighed by their incremental cost of production.

The following is from a report written by advocates of wind power:

… it simply has become more difficult to reap the rewards of turbine scaling as a result
of additional constraints that must be addressed as well as the increasingly complex construction requirements of very large turbines. …


[The key is the] trade-off between incremental capital cost expenditure and incremental energy production …


Estimated tower costs calculated in the model are believed to be somewhat optimistic relative to historical turbine installations, …

The model in its current form is relatively comprehensive but has only simplistic collection system cost algorithms and does not capture site access or transport and logistics costs. Moreover, the modeling approach applied assumes flat terrain. …


4.1.4 Breakeven Costs

These results provide turbine designers with a rough indication of the cost budget allowable in pursuing economical taller turbines. Of course, beating the breakeven cost could be accomplished with whatever [lol] means are available … These could include changes in design or other machine features, reduced blade costs or a reduced blade mass scaling exponent, advances in tower design or … other unforeseen improvements …

5 Conclusions

… our results are sensitive to changes in key assumptions (e.g., total CapEx and wind shear) that are highly uncertain … taller towers may be critical to increasing the opportunity for wind power across the nation and could become increasingly attractive as innovations drive down the costs …

a combination of factors, including … the need to provide sufficient ground clearance as a function of continued rotor growth.

Future work efforts in this domain are anticipated to benefit from research that

quantifies and ultimately reduces the uncertainty of the wind resource data …

Lantz, Eric, Owen Roberts, Jake Nunemaker, Edgar DeMeo, Katherine Dykes, and
George Scott. 2019. Increasing Wind Turbine Tower Heights: Opportunities and
Challenges. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-5000-73629. pp. 2, 10-12, 38, 52

In the Real World
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 26, 2020 4:42 am

Greenpeace put some adverts up in the UK saying that the cost of renewable energy was coming down below conventional generation .
The Advertising Standards Authority made them take the ads down as it is a total lie .

The lowest price for Offshore wind which is actually working at the moment is £139.35 .
And they get even higher constraint payments .
And over the life cycle of a Gas powered generator , renewable energy works out at over 15 times more expensive .

So the idea that renewable energy could be cost effective is just more Green Bovine Scatology .

May 25, 2020 2:27 pm

Cost to consumers[edit]
EDF has negotiated a guaranteed fixed price – a “strike price”– for electricity from Hinkley Point C of £92.50/MWh (in 2012 prices),[26][79] which will be adjusted (linked to inflation) during the construction period and over the subsequent 35 years tariff period.

£92.50 in 2012 is worth £109.95 today

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 25, 2020 5:08 pm

Ghalfrunt these facts and figures are a meaningless fairytale. I have not read one article since renewables were forced upon us that says electricity prices have come down.

People are getting wealthy from government subsidies, taxpayers money, to build renewable infrastructure. Now I find out that taxpayers are also paying to turn it off! So far there has been no financial or even environmental benefit to those taxpayers who have no choice in the rollout of renewable energy.

Please don’t insult us with figures stating that renewable power is cheap. Next you’ll be saying that it’s clean and green.

Reply to  Megs
May 25, 2020 5:17 pm

Megs May 25, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Please don’t insult us with figures stating that renewable power is cheap. Next you’ll be saying that it’s clean and green.
You obviously have different source of data for wind energy convertor generation costs compared to thermal generation. Can you please give me some links to actual figures (not from blogs) thanks

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 25, 2020 6:28 pm

Ghalfrunt I don’t care about “wind energy converter costs”! I’m talking about the electricity bill that each of us receive on a regular basis.

Electricity bills have only gone up, and not just in a small way. So in addition to paying higher electricity bills we are, through our taxes also paying to have renewable energy installed and it seems to shut it down because it’s unreliable and unmanageable.

There is no figure you or anyone else could put forward that could convince the ‘average man in the street’ that renewable energy is cheap and there are people who think twice about putting on the heating because they are not sure if they can afford to pay the bill!

Ghalfrunt science has enriched our lives in so many ways and I have the utmost respect for scientists and ‘true’ science. Wind and solar renewables were never thought through, they were pushed by virtue signalling billionaires and they have become the worst that ‘consensus science’ has to offer. Just research their life cycle and then try to justify their existence.

Whatever you see about renewables that you fight so hard defend really doesn’t matter, they are simply not sustainable. The waste issue is going to be another expensive problem at renewables end of life, I guess the taxpayers will have to pay for that too.

Reply to  Megs
May 25, 2020 7:28 pm

Megs May 25, 2020 at 6:28 pm
Ghalfrunt I don’t care about “wind energy converter costs”! I’m talking about the electricity bill that each of us receive on a regular basis.
As expected you have not provided REAL data.
You seem to think that your feelings are better than real figures from reliable sources.

Please show your figures for the increase in electricity costs over the increase in thermal fuel costs including nuclear.

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 25, 2020 11:02 pm

Ghalfrunt at no time did I question the figures you quoted that I first responded to. I did not say that your figures were wrong, so what is it that you want me to prove?

I told you the cost was irrelevant, renewables are not fit for purpose. It’s the man in the street that’s propping up the industry with their taxes. If all subsidies were withdrawn tomorrow no one would be willing to fund wind or solar. It is not even a ‘stand alone’ profitable business!

What is so good about renewable energy that justifies ripping off the public and destroying the environment?

You have no real answer to that question because there isn’t one so let’s leave it at that. If you think there has to be a winner then you keep telling yourself how cheap wind power is. People aren’t so easily fooled anymore, they will know what you’re leaving out.

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 26, 2020 5:12 am


Close, but you don’t have to make figures up – here’s where to find the current strike prices for Hinckley C and some other bespoke ‘investment’ strike prices.

Hinckley Point C – 104.48 £/MWh
Drax 3rd Conversion Unit (Unit 1) – cheapest of 3 biomass projects – 116.49 £/MWh
Beatrice Phase 1,2 – cheapest of 5 offshore wind projects – 162.33£/MWh

Hinckley C doesn’t look too bad compared to those! The Hinkley price could also come down somewhat if Sizewell C goes ahead – that is part of the deal. We are already paying those strike prices for Drax and Beatrice, Hinckley won’t get anything until 2025 at the earliest.

I’m no expert though, and I don’t understand why the strike prices in the allocation round auctions are cheaper. Set earlier?

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 26, 2020 7:58 am

And how much are they paying to keep the FF plants running in the background, ready to take over when the wind stops?

May 25, 2020 3:45 pm

Wind Turbines and Solar Panels are a new Protection racket. Lovely economy you have here, shame if something happened to it! Hand over the Cash or we will flood your grid with massive useless excessive power!

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 26, 2020 8:51 am

Have you checked the French grid?
You cannot simply turn the nuclear generators up and down at the behest of a piece of software. Small adjustments can be made but if it were not for the interconnections to Germany Spain Switzerland and UK, and hydro, the French would have an unstable grid. There is some following of demand – just not enough.

The interconnects are Frances saviour providing power for French peaks (and nuke downtime) and absorbing their excess production when demand is low.

Nuclear generators also cause the worst problems when a generators goes offline without warning 500MW lost in an instant.

Thermal nuclear is as difficult to handle as WECs and much more complex to recycle.

In the Real World
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
May 26, 2020 10:58 am

Ghalf , it is obvious you do not understand grid stability .
France has over 80% of its electric power from Nuclear generation , which can be turned up or down when necessary , admittedly , not very quick to turn up .And their grid is one of the most stable .

Unlike Germany , which has about 40% renewables , & therefore the most expensive electricity in the world .
And last year , due to the asynchronous factor of wind & solar generation , they had over 80 times when they had shutdowns , [ usually just the high users like Aluminium smelters ,] to try to keep the whole grid from blacking out .

Every form of conventional generation is far more stable for the grid than wind or solar .

May 25, 2020 4:09 pm

‘ Investing in new grid infrastructure is vital ’

I’m not sure how more infrastructure is going to help with a lack of demand, seems a much better idea to invest in something useful?

Stay sane,

Reply to  Willem69
May 25, 2020 6:57 pm

I’m not sure how more infrastructure is going to help with a lack of demand, seems a much better idea to invest in something useful?

Investing in energy storage will improve dispatch-able generator efficiency and grid stability. The trick will be matching expensive storage economics against peak demand costs (not to be underestimated!) whilst gaining maximum benefit at times of low demand.

May 25, 2020 4:56 pm

I hope the “constraint” payment is widely publicised. It should make the public aware of the silliness of intermittent generation connected to an “on demand” grid.

Establishing a constraint payment is in the WORST possible interest of consumers.

With wide public knowledge it may make the broader community aware of the folly of intermittent generators being connected to any electricity grid.

In Australia, the intermittent generators are “curtailed” voluntarily when price goes negative or by grid operator order when there are stability issues. However the intermittent generator is not compensated. In fact, they also lose the subsidy as that isa based on ONLY the electricity sent out.

Andre Lauzon
May 25, 2020 5:03 pm

The stupidity of it all is a reminder to the electorate that so many politicians are nothing but ignorant ideologues; they are either stupid or corrupt or intellectually challenged.

Reply to  Andre Lauzon
May 25, 2020 11:33 pm

More likely both..I have no time for any of them.

Izaak Walton
May 25, 2020 5:21 pm

These payments are dwarfed by the strike price the government has decided to pay the Hinkley nuclear power station. As Ghalfrunt mentioned that is about 100 pounds per MWh for the next 35 years. Which is about 30 pounds more expensive than the current wholesale price. Nothing about the UK power grid makes sense but small payments to wind turbines not to produce electricity is in the noise.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 25, 2020 6:05 pm

Surely the nuclear power price at Hinkley has a component of research and demonstration to encourage new, future investment. Investors will be informed by the Hinkley performance.
The whole picture has become too confused, perhaps by too much special pleading and pressure from special interest groups. In the olden days, people wanting to invest simply costed their proposal as a stand-alone. If the C:B was positive enough, they built.
These days, the magnitude and complexity of subsidies and other externalities is too large and too influential on the primary ecomonic analysis of new projects.
What remains clear, however, is that the British Government would not have proceeded with Hinkley if renewables were able to provide cheap and reliable electricity.
All economic analyses of future costs of major plants that I have seen are conditioned by assumptions. In Australia, most of the comparisons of ff versus renewables assume from the start that subsidies will continue to favour renewables and that ff will be relegated to filling in the deficiencies of supply from the intermittency problem of renewables.

I would be grateful to anyone here who can reference comparison studies of ff versus renewables that do not have these socially-conceived conditions affecting the analysis. Where are the stand-alone, greenfields studies? I cannot imagine anyone making valid price comparisons if they have not studied the stand-alone costings that might exist, but are hidden, it seems. Geoff S

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 25, 2020 7:23 pm

The Hinkley power station is being run by a consortium of Chinese and French companies. It is exceedingly unclear why the UK government would want to fund them to do research. Especially when the only reason they won the bid was that they claimed the reactor design was based on proven technology. And without wanting to descend down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories the only rational explanation I have seen for the government proceeding with Hinkley is that needs a civilian nuclear reactor to train people who can then work on its nuclear power subs and nuclear warheads. Essentially it is a subsidy to the nuclear arms industry. Coal, Natural Gas or wind would be significantly cheaper and quicker to build.

Martin Howard Keith Brumby
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 25, 2020 8:12 pm

Isaak Walton
What you say may be true. But let’s not forget that the Government’s choice of the Avera design of EPR for a new nuclear power station (actually it was to be 8 new stations), was and stands as a classic example of absolute ineptitude.

Just look at the history of this design, with Oikiluoto 3 in Finland, Taishan 1&2 in China and Flamanville 3 in France. Not to mention Hinckley Point 3.

Costs, originally estimated by Areva at £24 per MWh, have gone through the roof, as has the construction cost (Flamanville 3 from €2.4 Billion to latest guess €12.4 Billion). Construction periods have also grown like Topsey. Oikiluoto may perhaps come into service next March, Flamanville maybe in 2023, Hinckley, who knows? Is it intended to go into service?

As Ed Miliband (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 2008-2010), Chris ‘Perjury’ Huhne (2010_2012) and Ed Davey (2012_2015) are all fanatical supporters of GangGreen and as all three put together have less intelligence than Paul the Octopus, this was a disaster even more predictable than the ChiCom Pandemic.

Because this nuclear was likely designed to make wind look cheap and “reliable” (Ho Ho), it doesn’t really follow that we couldn’t have used a different reactor and different constructors with a much better outcome.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Martin Howard Keith Brumby
May 25, 2020 9:38 pm

I agree completely with you regarding the contract for the Hinkley nuclear power station. It was a balls up from start to finish. And furthermore it was one that was predictable decades in advance. The government knows what the lifetime of all the UK power stations are, it also knows how long it takes to build a new power station and it doesn’t take a genius to compare the two numbers and work out when to start construction. But successive governments of multiple decades have failed in long term infrastructure planning.

May 25, 2020 6:49 pm

If climate science had the reasonable goal of simply reducing fossil fuel consumption by diversifying the energy portfolio it might have worked. They screwed themselves with the idiotic idea that they could enforce a complete elimination of fossil fuel combustion by scaring us with a climate crisis in which any amount of fossil fuel used will destroy the planet.

May 25, 2020 7:31 pm

National Grid also asked EDF to shut one reactor at Sizewell B
The amount of unstable unconventional generation on the UK grid is plain scary at the moment.

I sometimes wonder if the engineers are doing it deliberately knowing that only a serious blackout will alert people to the disaster that is renewable energy.

May 25, 2020 7:33 pm

Renewable UK are a ‘charity’ – funded by the wind and solar industry, who appoint all its board members – to tell the lies that they themselves would be prosecuted for telling, as commercial concerns.

Ben Vorlich
May 26, 2020 12:47 am

Looks like there’s no problem with too much wind in the UK today, 2.23GW 8.35% of demand.

May 26, 2020 2:14 am

The writer has confused the Renewable Energy Foundation and Renewable UK. REF is a charity and is opposed to wind power.

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  RobH
May 26, 2020 3:37 am

Rob, they both get a mention.

John Constable is quoted from the REF.

Luke Clark is representing RenewableUK, which is not a charity, but a trade association whose remit is to sponser renewables.

May 26, 2020 3:31 am

All this highlights is the lack of energy storage!
Not enough Static storage capacity, not enough EV’s charging up.
When you are in a transition phase between two major sources of energy, there will be anomalies in the supply chain.

Once there are more electric vehicles and more static storage capacity (these are rapidly increasing as we speak), events like this will become less common and eventually rare or never occurring.

Of course there will always be the need for standby generators for those still foggy days this part of the world is renown for to cover the periods if no energy harvesting.

May 26, 2020 7:58 am

Isn’t it their job to match the output to the load; so why pay anything?

The problem is reliability and minimal land usage, neither of which are met by renewable energy. Why assault the population?

May 26, 2020 8:48 am

Wind farms paid record £.9.3m to switch off their turbines on Friday

Lefty-regulatory-logic. They help create fascistic industries (wind, solar, etc) that are by their nature automatically bought off via government subsidies & favorable regulations.

nw sage
May 27, 2020 6:05 pm

I thought the Scots lost the war when the Stewarts were defeated. This indicates that the Scotts got paid abour 3X as much as the Brits for nothing – I should lose so well!

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