U.K. wind farms paid not to produce

Wind corporations paid not to generate electricity when a strong wind blows

The Daily Telegraph reports that thousands of pounds per day will be paid to compensate the wind  industry when the British national grid can not use the power.   The intermittent nature of wind power requires traditional efficient power generation to remain the mainstay of British power generation when the wind is light or not blowing at all resulting in too much power when the wind decides to blow.  Simply not accepting the unneeded power would cost wind investors to lose their subsidies.   We can’t imagine them welcoming that.

A recent report from the Danish Center for Political Studies  shows a similar problem for Denmark.  The Danes however have the good fortune of being able to dump their surplus wind energy into the power grids of their neighbors effectively using their neighboring countries as a storage battery for Danish wind.  This is greater fortune yet for Denmark’s neighboring countries as they receive the power inexpensively with Danish taxpayers and ratepayers  footing the bill.

In the United States Cape Cod homeowners still reeling from the prospect of the controversial Cape Wind project placing turbines in beautiful Nantucket sound were shocked to learn that Cape Wind’s electricity will cost more than twice what they are paying now.  They’ll certainly be shocked if the British idea of paying wind farms to sit idle catches on across the pond.

Alternative energy only makes sense if it produces reliable affordable power.  Wind profits should flow from power generation rather than grants and subsidies.  Until they do they will remain the totems of our times.

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About the Author: Michael Goetz