Human Events Blog

British wind farms paid big bucks to shut down during high winds

The United Kingdom is further along the path of “green energy” transformation into a primitive, pre-industrial society than Barack Obama’s America, so we can look there for a preview of what awaits us in our unsustainable future of “sustainable” energy.  (“Sustainable” means “it works some of the time.”)

The UK Daily Mail brings us news of a triumph for the British wind power industry, which has been getting paid big money – much of it kept secret – to prevent those windmills from turning when the wind picks up:

Wind farm operators were paid £34million last year to switch the turbines off in gales.

Two days last week saw householders effectively hand £400,000 to energy firms for doing nothing.

The arrangement compensates wind farms for the National Grid’s inability to cope with the extra energy produced during high winds.

The exact structure of the payments is mired in secrecy – even though families have to carry the cost in the form of higher power bills.

Hidden payments discovered by the Mail show that wind farms are given much more money than previously thought.

It was always known the National Grid made ‘constraint payments’ – cash given to operators to temporarily shut down their turbines when electricity supply outstripped demand.

But what was not made public were details of so-called ‘forward trades’, in which the National Grid agrees a pay-out when the weather is expected to be stormy.

The money is paid out even before a turbine shuts down.

To translate this into American nomenclature, 34 million pounds is about 54.8 million dollars, and “householders” means “taxpaying chumps.”  But not to worry, because the National Grid hastened to point out this expense is “less than 1 percent of the average domestic bill,” so who cares if it vanishes into a maze of secret payments designed to conceal the unreliability of wind power?

And it’s not as if the money paid to still those turbine blades when atmospheric conditions exceed their narrow operating parameters is completely lost.  The Daily Mail notes, “Up to 32,000 wind turbines could be built in England and Wales over the next 40 years to meet government targets.  Many of the existing sites are owned by foreign firms which have made record profits in recent years.”

Crony socialism is awesome, provided you get to be one of the cronies, as any number of American “green energy” CEOs could tell you.  No wonder American politicians hungry for more centralized control love wind power.  The political power it generates is far more reliable than its electrical output.

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