One of the big six electricity companies was paid nearly £1.5 million to shut down
a new Scottish wind farm before it was even formally completed, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
EDF has been paid nearly £1.5 million to shut down Fallago Rig’s turbines Photo: Getty Images
6:00AM BST 24 May 2013
EDF Energy was handed £1.45 million between April 29 and May 15 to shut down turbines on the Fallago Rig wind farm, which is on land owned by the Duke of Roxburghe in Scottish Borders.
The “constraint payments”, which ultimately come from electricity bills, are given to wind farm companies to compensate them for not producing power during periods of high generation and low demand.
This can happen when it is too windy, in order not to overload the National Grid, or when maintenance work on the Grid is being carried out.
But the 48-turbine development in the Lammermuir Hills only completed testing and came fully online on May 17, two days after the final tranche of the money.
The Conservatives said the payments for not producing electricity – which spiked at more than £320,000 per day – demonstrated the ludicrous consequences for consumers of Alex Salmond’s drive for wind energy in Scotland.
The First Minister wants to generate the equivalent of all the country’s electricity needs from renewable sources by the end of the decade despite concerns this would require the countryside to be carpeted with turbines.
Murdo Fraser, a Conservative MSP and prominent wind farm critic, said: “Here we have a French-owned multinational company benefiting from vast sums at the expense of the electricity bill payers of the UK.
“This is yet another example of the flaws of SNP energy policy causing fuel poverty for millions of Scots and enriching investors at their expense.” The Duke of Roxburghe did not benefit from the payments.
According to figures provided by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a charity which publishes information on the energy sector, the second largest sum of £296,457 was handed over on April 29.
It is understood the payment was so high because maintenance work on the National Grid was being carried out, requiring Fallago Rig’s turbines to be shut down.
A further £59,513 was paid to EDF between April 30 and May 3 before the sums spiked again, with £114,472 being handed over on May 4 and £166,710 on May 5.
The payments increased a third time on May 11 (£97,776), rising to £109,929 the following day before peaking at £328,841 on May 13. The total fell to £177,097 on May 14 and £59,306 on May 15.
Although the wind farm started producing electricity in January, it did not complete all its testing – a process known as commissioning – until May 17.
EDF said the payments take into account all of the costs and lost revenues that the generator would incur as a result of reducing its output.
A spokesman said: “Such instructions from the National Grid are part of its daily management of the electricity system, as it works to ensure it maintains the right balance between generation and customer demand or to manage temporary technical limitations within the transmission network.”
The Scottish Government did not respond to a request for a comment.