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« A fracking corrective | Main | The extraordinary climate effect of land-use change »
Tuesday
Dec152015

Windfall

The Press and Journal has details of some truly phenomenal payments to wind farms in order to get them to switch off.

An energy giant was paid nearly £600,000 in less than a month – to turn off its windfarm and not produce any electricity.

Some or all of SSE’s 33 turbines at Strathy North were shut down almost daily between November 12 and December 10.

Last night, campaigners branded the situation “scandalous”, but the power company said it had to play its part in balancing the needs of the National Grid.

Westminster politicians: enabling graft and corruption since 1265AD.

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Reader Comments (31)

No conspiracy required, just greed.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

And yet there are still those who claim that we need even more wind turbines.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Bloke down the pub,
If I was being paid that sort of cream I'd be begging for a whole new dairy to be opened.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Are these payments for turning wind turbines off, based on their CLAIMED ability to generate, or their ACTUAL average production?

Can I build a wind turbine in my garden, made out of 3 wire coat hangers, 2 cornflakes packets, and an empty Eco bottle of washing up liquid, and then claim thousands of pounds for not switching it on?

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I find it strange how, those of the greenalist lefty viewpoint, think wind-turbines are the new sliced bread of electricity generation, yet think nothing of & ignore that fact that people like rich landowners like Daddy Sam-Cam, earns around a quarter of a million a year having them on his land. I would have thought a measure of protest at such disparity would be in order!

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

This is the sort of news that can get the undecided and quiet to decide and start speaking out.
The story will go nowhere.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Here is the link:

https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/95686/sse-paid-to-shutoff-windfarm/

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

"And yet there are still those who claim that we need even more wind turbines."

On average, we do need more - what you don't seem to understand that when it's windy, they have to reduce output and pay compensation as described here, but when it is NOT windy, that's when we need more.

Obvious really.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Insane.

Meanwhile a Greenpeace spokesthing has been on every BBC hourly news bulletin deriding fracking and claiming we need more renewables. More of what doesn't work to not do what they're supposed to? Genius! YCNMIU.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Here's a revolutionary idea from a life-long Conservative:
1. Re-activate the Central Electricity Generating Board and give them the funds necessary to re-nationalise all existing coal, gas, and nuclear power stations and the Grid.
2. Give them a remit to build whatever supply system they consider appropriate for the 21st century demands of the UK and give them five years to get that system in place and the funds necessary to ensure that is done. (There may be a problem with timescale but 5 years is the target.)
3. Leave them to decide when, how, or whether, wind, solar, tidal, hydro make any sense and to what extent and under what conditions. Give them carte blanche as to what they are prepared to pay existing suppliers of so-called "renewable" energy and if the companies involved find that the prices are uneconomic — too bad!
4. Thereafter let them sell their output at an agreed price to local suppliers who may charge their customers an agreed price. If in doubt as to how that works try looking at how it is done in France where I know on Jan 1 by how much my electricity bill is going to increase for the coming year and GDF are not permitted to simply charge me anything they think they can get away with.
5. Tell the Climateers to get stuffed.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Wind power will always be an economic and environmental parasite as long as it receives subsidies and mandates from the government.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeW

CheshireRed, Greenpeace vegetarians do not have to worry about having no gas or electricity to cook their Christmas turkey.

Most normal people would happily roast some green nuts over an open fire. It would be better for the environment.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Alan the Brit,
Here is a Lefty who very much protests about the transfer of wealth from poor taxpayers to the landed gentry.
Green is not Red.

Mike Jackson,
Good policy ideas.
But the Greenest Government ever would never take the flak.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Mike Jackson, I agree with your draft energy policy, but rather than tell climateers to get stuffed, they should be allowed to charge whatever they like, for whatever they can produce.

If consumers are allowed to choose, they will. Personally, I would choose Reliable power at the flick of a switch, not unlimited electrical lighting during daylight, but none at night, when by a strange quirk of physics, it tends to be dark. But if some people want to make that choice, they should be allowed to.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie

I would love to roast a green nut over an open fire whilst preparing to enjoy my Christmas goose and a nice bottle of wine.

Best Xmas prezzie I can think of.

Perhaps young Mr. Miliband, to start with.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

""On average, we do need more - what you don't seem to understand that when it's windy, they have to reduce output and pay compensation as described here, but when it is NOT windy, that's when we need more.
Obvious really.
Dec 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commenter steveta_uk .

Steveta, we need to carry the greeny logic a stage further. When there is no wind we need an infinite number of turbines. We had better get building.

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Mike Jackson - agree with good policy ideas, but suspect that 'greenest government evah' would probably think it a good idea to put Gummer in as head of CEGB.

I've noticed someone biting back about not hitting the poorest hardest with inflated 'leccy costs; the suggestion was to make the wealthier pay more. Perhaps all those benefitting from wind farm rents should be taxed at the highest rates, but as usual it will be the squeezed middles' pips squeaking. What is a pip's breaking point?

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

golf charlie
I'd go along with that if it were possible properly to differentiate between synthetic electricity and natural electricity but it isn't. Trying to sort out who is signed up to what would be horrendous.
And can you imagine the brouhaha if CEGB demanded half the wind turbines be shut down and the result was that those who had signed up to "wind power only" were cut off.
No; nice try but definitely no cigar!
If the sole producer of electricity is the CEGB then it alone will determine the price it will pay private suppliers. We don't need a repeat of Severn Power's ransom demand of a couple of weeks ago.
The interconnectors are a different matter but even there agreements between the two countries would ensure prices were in a reasonable ball park — as in stab me in the wallet today and I'll "punch" your lights out tomorrow.

M Courtney
You're right of course and since the chances of my being PM or Benevolent Dictator any time soon are slim to non-existent it ain't gonna happen. But something similar will have to happen some time or there will be chaos. I don't know what a reasonable price would be but I'm prepared to bet that a majority of UK citizens, once it was explained to them, would happily go with a 5p/£ hike in income tax for one year to get the system functionung again because for sure it isn't functioning now.

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

UK Post-Imperial Fascism has been based on dumbing down Education for future Morlocks and concentrating wealth with the new Eloi via BTL and Renewables' subsidy farming.

After 20 years of this Plan being executed, we are now getting a desperate rowing back by Government because the elite within it have seen that only immigrants have the numerical and linguistic skills, BTL is evoking a serious political blowback and imminent Blackouts are on the verge of causing serious economic harm and the country's credit rating to fall.

Dec 15, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNC 1701E

Mike Jackson,
Electricity supply is effectively nationalised now anyway. How else are they going to get builders of gas-fired stations back to the fray but subsidising them in some way or other?

And yes, the CEGB was very good, but nowadays where on earth would you get a pool of engineers to staff it? We really are in a mess.

Germany's far worse, of course, and as MacMillan would have said

"There's always someone worse off than yourself".

Dec 15, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Do you actually have to erect wind turbines before you get paid not to generate power? I was thinking of erecting one on my front lawn and another on the back lawn but if the government is willing to pay me not to generate electricity then I promise to leave my lawns alone, apart from mowing them which will consume electricity instead of generating it.

Dec 15, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

NC 1701E... er.. spoiler alert, but you haven't forgotten in The Time Machine the Morlocks eat the Eloi...?

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Roy: regarding your subsidies – good idea, but… have you considered:

Are you already stinking rich?

Are you related in any tenuous way to a politician holding an office of significance?

If the answer to both of those questions is, “No,” then you do not have a cat in hell’s chance of getting any graft money from the government.

Radical Rodent (Nobel Laureate) – (just to remind you how important I am... and don't you forget it.)

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPompous Rodent

there is nothing has easy to farm has subsides , and the first thing to know about the renewable industry, is that its a 'industry ' and therefore out to make cash.

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

@Phil D; no, I have not forgotten. There is a new ending to the story entitled 'So Long Greens'......:o)

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

“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. Neighbours sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” he counselled one and all, and everyone said “Amen.” Joseph Heller, Catch 22.

Dec 15, 2015 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

Hmmm....

there was me thinking that taxes should be raised from successful businesses - If that's the Aberdeen Press & Journal then I'm quite surprised they have not run something along the lines of this piece in The Telegraph (h/t Richard Black - yes... that one :-)

Anybody who's used to paying self assessment tax in the UK and has has "doings" with HMRC - had better not read it - without a hefty dose of beta blockers....

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Registered Commentertomo

What happened in 1265, 50 years after Magna Carta?

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Capell
With respect, you miss my point.
Under my plan the CEGB becomes solely responsible for power generation and once again owns and operates (and commissions) the power stations. It cannot be held to ransom by E:On or EDF or anyone else because they no longer own or run or build power stations.
If EDF cannot be guaranteed a level playing field then they will inevitably demand a subsidy especially since the windies are getting one. If there is only one playing field and one team then the question doesn't arise.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

MikeN, 1265 was the first English Parliament NOT summoned by the Monarch, thus transferring fraud and corruption directly to politicians.

Subsequent history suggests this has not always been the case, and it has had mixed consequences for the wider population.

Dec 15, 2015 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I find it strange how, those of the greenalist lefty viewpoint, think wind-turbines are the new sliced bread of electricity generation, yet think nothing of & ignore that fact that people like rich landowners like Daddy Sam-Cam, earns around a quarter of a million a year having them on his land. I would have thought a measure of protest at such disparity would be in order!

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I made these very points to ATTP on his unpleasant blog some time ago in moderate and unprovocative terms - the one and only time when I ever bothered posting there. His responses demonstrated very quickly his lack of understanding of economics and the attitude of the average eco-fascist, namely that the poor can go to hell, the rich can get richer, and they don't care, so long as we build ever more useless wind turbines. The bile and odium that poured forth from the visitors to that website was astonishing, all because I dared to suggest that it wasn't a good idea to make us dependent for energy on unreliable and expensive sources, and that the by-product of enriching the wealthy at the cost of the poor was highly undesirable.

Needless to say I never posted a comment there again (though I do visit occasionally to remind myself how obsessed these people are and the impossibility of reasoning with them).

Dec 16, 2015 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

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