Payments to turn off fossil fuel stations ‘six times more than wind’

The amount paid to switch off fossil fuel power stations such as coal and gas are “six times greater” than payments made to wind generators. That’s according to the head […]

By Priyanka Shrestha

The amount paid to switch off fossil fuel power stations such as coal and gas are “six times greater” than payments made to wind generators.

That’s according to the head of trade group Scottish Renewables who is calling for greater transparency around these constraint payments.

All types of electricity generation get incentives if they are told to switch off by National Grid to avoid flooding the grid with too much power at times of low demand.

Niall Stuart’s call comes as it was revealed wind farm constraint payments soared in recent years. He has written to National Grid demanding the company publish a regular breakdown of payments to all forms of generation. Wind is currently the lone power source to have its payments laid out.

Mr Stuart said: “Wind was responsible for 14% of all constraint payments in the first half of this financial year, with coal, gas and hydro accounting for the vast majority of the other 86%. Total constraint payments were equal to £161.2 million and the cost of constraining wind was £23.3 million, meaning that coal, gas and other generators received £137.9 million – six times the amount paid to wind.

“In the interests of transparency and an open debate about the costs and benefits of all forms of electricity, it is time for the grid operator to publish details of payments to other individual sectors – not just to wind.”

National Grid said it is “more than happy” to provide the full details of the payments.

A spokesperson for the system operator added: “Before the end of February we will publish a full breakdown of constraint costs across all technologies in our Monthly Balancing Services summary. This will include data from January 2014 onwards.”

National Grid is considering paying major energy users to use excess wind power during off-peak hours.