I have limited my request to Scotland because Alex Salmond has boasted that Scotland could achieve 100% electricity supply from wind power by 2020, when in reality it appears that it might only reach at best 10% by that date.
Most of the disruption to electricity supplies in the UK came as a result of damage to the transmission side not the generation side.
UK Wind Farms Paid not to Generate Electricity & Fell Trees to Build More By the Institute for Energy Research (Bio and Archives) Monday, January 6, 2014
UK wind farms were paid over £4.8 million ($7.88 million) to turn off their turbines over the holidays leaving tens of thousands of homes without power as storms hit the country.
The payments, known as ‘constraint payments’, were paid because the National Grid was unable to handle the extra wind power produced during the storms or because electricity usage was low.
The ‘constraint payments’, which are paid to wind farms to turn off their turbines when winds hit up to 100 miles per hour, compensate firms for energy they are unable to sell. The payments are added to the bills of the country’s electricity consumers even though the storms resulted in power outages for thousands of homes.(i)
Unfortunately for UK residents, wind farms are being erected faster than the National Grid can absorb the electricity they produce.
According to the National Grid, the ‘constraint payment’ system is needed to balance supply and demand and the money that wind farms receive makes up only a small proportion of ‘constraint payments’ made to electricity generators.
Meanwhile, since 2007, over five million trees have been felled in Scotland for wind farm development with fewer than 1.6 million trees planted to replace them, despite policies that demand their replacement.[ii] Scotland expects to get all its energy from renewables by 2020, which is the reason for the rapid wind farm development.
UK’s Constraint Payments
Because electricity cannot be stored and demand for electricity fluctuates, the UK’s National Grid pays generators when they need to reduce their electrical output. These ‘constraint payments’ have become necessary mainly because of intermittent electricity sources such as wind that has changed the way grid operators need to manage the grid.
To determine the payment value, the National Grid receives bids from generators outlining how much they want to be paid to reduce their generation, similar to the bids received to determine payment to generators when they need to increase their generation due to demand increases.
The National Grid generally accepts the lowest bid to minimize the cost that is passed on to the consumer.
Between 2011 and 2012, National Grid reported that ‘constraint payments’ to wind farms were over ten percent of the total amount paid to all generators, which totaled around £34 million ($55 million). The amount that wind farms receive in ‘constraint payments’ is in a greater proportion than the amount of the UK’s electricity that they generate, which is less than 5 percent.
UK’s Recent Constraint Payments to Wind Farms
UK wind farms received over £4.8 million ($7.88 million) since December 15, almost as much as they received in ‘constraint payments’ for the entire year of 2012, when storms hit the country. The first bout of storms resulted in wind farms receiving £653,727 on December 18 and £1.24 million on December 19 to turn off turbines at 31 wind farms. On December 21, wind farms received £113,826 and on December 22, wind farms were paid £248,399. That was followed by almost £800,000 on December 24, £432,445 on December 25, £287,454 on December 27 and £126,827 on December 28.
In total, through the Christmas holiday in 2013, wind farms received constraint payments of £32.6 million, and this amount could increase further due to more storms that were expected over the New Year. Around 75,000 homes lost power and around 50,000 households were still without power on Christmas Day. According to Renewable UK, December was a record-breaking month for wind power with over 2 million megawatt hours generated.
According to Murdo Fraser, a senior Tory MSP: “Families who are struggling with overstretched household budgets at Christmas time and have to meet ever-increasing energy bills will be horrified to see such vast sums of their money being paid to wind power companies for doing nothing. This exposes once again the over-reliance on wind developments as part of our energy mix when the Grid capacity doesn’t currently exist to properly utilize the power produced.”
Tree Destruction in Scotland for Wind Farms
Not only do wind producers get paid not to produce electricity, wind generation is resulting in cutting down thousands of acres of carbon dioxide-absorbing trees in Scotland. Since 2007, over 6,200 acres of trees have been felled in Scotland to allow the construction of wind farms. The Forestry Commission estimates that an average of 810 trees are planted per acre meaning that over five million trees have been chopped down for wind farm development. Despite the Scottish Government insisting that energy companies undertake “compensatory replanting” when trees are destroyed, fewer than 2,000 acres of trees (31.5 percent) have been replanted within wind farm sites, resulting in a net loss of about 3.4 million trees to make way for wind turbines.
Supposedly, according to the government, 3,467 acres (56 percent) were “left open for environmental management”, leaving just 778 acres (12.5 percent) to still be replanted.
The Scottish government set a target of generating all of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the majority expected to come from onshore wind farms, resulting in the rapid construction of wind farms across rural Scotland. So rapid, that wind-generated electricity needs to be exported from Scotland resulting in a bottleneck because there is limited transmission capacity between Scotland and the rest of Britain.
According to research published last year, there were almost as many turbines north of the British Border as there were in the rest of the UK. Scotland is also responsible for the majority of tree planting in Britain with almost two and a half times more trees planted in Scotland compared to south of the Border.
It is estimated that there are 441 large-scale turbines already constructed or given planning permission in Scotland. Planning applications for another 185 have been submitted, with 47 at the appeal stage, making over 600 wind turbines expected within Scottish borders in 2014. In addition, wind farm companies are scoping and screening sites with the potential for another 400 turbines.
According to Murdo Fraser:“It’s quite astonishing to see almost as many trees have been destroyed as there are people in Scotland. The contribution of trees to our environment has been well established through the ages. I’m still waiting to see compelling evidence of the contribution wind farms make.”
Scotland is looking to get all its energy from renewables by 2020, with wind turbine construction on the rampage in rural Scotland where trees are felled to make way for the wind farms. Despite their environmental benefits in absorbing carbon dioxide and expectations for their replanting, acres are left dormant. It appears that wind turbines in Scotland will soon equal those of the rest of the UK, where constraint payments are being paid to wind farms because the National Grid cannot handle the excess energy they generate when storms hit or usage is low. Electricity consumers in the UK will pay over £30 million (over $49 million) to stop the wind farms from generating power in 2013, over 500 percent more than they paid in 2012. As greater wind production comes on line, the cost of the ‘constraint payments’ will increase
THE Scottish Government is being urged for national guidance on how much wind farm developers should pay in community benefits ("Guidance call over wind farm benefit for residents", The Herald December 11).
The current payment of almost £7m is likely to treble by 2017 and could be closer to £50m by 2020.
This money isn't blowing in the wind. It comes from higher fuel bills or higher taxes.
The base load (a constant supply to meet the overnight needs) is provided by the Longannet coal-fired power station. The daytime increase comes from the nuclear stations and hydro power.
Wind energy is as unpredictable as the wind. If wind turbine electricity is fed into the grid overnight, the Longannet load has to be reduced. The power station is then operating at less than its optimal load and becomes inefficient. The operational costs of Longannet go up as a result. So do your fuel bills.
Wind farms cost the Scottish taxpayer at every step of their construction and operation.
The turbines are manufactured in Germany and Denmark, providing a useful boost to the German and Danish economy at our expense.
When the wind turbines are up and running, the operators get a guaranteed price for electricity fed into the National Grid. This is known as the strike price. The strike price for onshore wind power is £100 per megawatt hour. The market price for electricity is £50 per megawatt hour.
For every megawatt hour of wind power fed into the National Grid, the consumer is paying double the market rate. The more wind turbines there are, the more wind power is fed into the National Grid, the higher the cost for the consumer. With 100% onshore wind, we would be paying double the market cost of electricity.
Offshore wind turbines are more expensive to install and operate. The strike price for offshore wind power is £155 per megawatt hour, more than three times more than the market price. There are fears in the Government that this strike price is too low to attract investment in offshore wind; 100% offshore wind would treble the price of electricity at the current strike rice.
Wind power is not free. Have you wondered why there is a rush to build a wind turbine on every available piece of ground in Scotland? It is a cash bonanza, a treasure trove of public money there to be claimed for little or no investment.
6 Woodhollow House,
It is refreshing to see that not all Scots are blindly accepting the crap that issues from Alex Salmond and his National Socialist SNP
This Particular issue goes beyond the independence debate in many ways, it is simply another bunch of greedy bastards ripping of the public whether they reside in Scotland or anywhere else. The building of any 'new' technology suffers from exactly the same issues;
1. Everything takes much longer to complete than first believed.
2. Everything costs many times more than first believed.
3. Everything is built BEFORE the necessary infrastucture has even been drafted let alone built.
4. Everything is innitialy 'sold' to the general public as the best thing since sliced bread.
5. Everything promises cheap supplies to the public.
6. Everything promises jobs to the masses.
7. Everything is dubious sales talk that only ever puts vast amounts of cash where it always goes.
You don't have to be Scottish to see exactly what is going on here, there exists at least two sides to every argument, debate often more, usually common sense fails to prevail no matter how glaringly obvious it is.
At the end of the day, Scotland will decide and I for one certainly hope that they make the right choice.
THE SNP's plans to fast-track an independent Scotland's EU membership have become untenable, it has been claimed, after the President of the European Council said new states would have to apply in the usual way.
Herman Van Rompuy said a newly independent state, breaking away from an existing EU member, would be classed as a "third country" and would have to apply using "the known accession procedures".
He was responding to the announcement of an independence referendum in Catalonia.
Labour and Conservative MSPs said his comments "blew away" SNP proposals to fast-track an independent Scotland's EU membership.
The Scottish Government insisted the remarks did not apply to Scotland.
The SNP's White Paper on independence argues that in the event of a Yes vote in next year's referendum Scotland would become a full EU member seamlessly, under Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union.
Joining the EU is usually done under a process - sometimes lengthy - detailed in Article 49 of the union's key treaty.
Mr van Rompuy said: "If a part of the territory of a member state ceases to be a part of that state because that territory becomes a new independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory.
"In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union and the treaties would, from the day of its independence, not apply any more on its territory."
He said any European state could apply to join the EU "according to the known accession procedures" set out in Article 49.
Though asked about Catalonia, he said his remarks were based on general principles. He said he was confident Spain would stay united.
Scottish Labour's external affairs spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said: "Alex Salmond's position on an independent Scotland's membership of the European Union is no longer tenable.
"The most senior officials in the European Union are contradicting his assertions yet he just sticks his fingers in his ears."
Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: "An independent Scotland wouldn't call the shots in negotiating entry to the EU, nor would it get any special treatment. It would join the back of the same queue as every other country".
Mr Van Rompuy blows away Alex Salmond's assertion in the White Paper that an Independent Scotland could use a special means of entry."
Mr Van Rompuy's comments echo those of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who said a newly independent state would be treated as a "third country".
Efforts to establish beyond doubt if the Scottish Government's fast-track plan for EU membership would be acceptable to Brussels have reached stalemate.
The Scottish Government has refused to approach Brussels for clarification after the EU said it could only offer a formal legal opinion to the UK Government as member state.
The UK Government has rejected Mr Salmond's call for a joint approach, saying it cannot pre-negotiate Scottish independence. Officials have, described the Scottish Government's plan as a "novel" interpretation of EU law.
This stance by the UK Government rules out the use of Article 48, under which the SNP claim they could use "special circumstances" to gain a fast track entry to the EU
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "These comments are clearly and explicitly about the situation in Spain and Catalonia - not about Scotland, where the constitutional circumstances are very different, as enshrined in the Edinburgh Agreement.
There are clear and significant similarities between the status of Scotland and Catalonia as semi autonomous regions of EU member states, both regions believe that they have clearly separate identities(historic, linguistic and cultural) from the national identity of their parent state, both regions have tax raising powers and regional parliaments and both regions believe they contribute more to their national Governments than they receive back in regional funding.
Although in the case of Scotland that belief is clearly an SNP myth that has been happily seized on by those in Scotland of an anti-English point of view.
You are grabbing at straws; The United Kingdom is unfortunately a member state within the European Union its combined population is just over 63,500,000, if Scotland chooses to leave the Union, the population of the United Kingdom will still be over 57,000,000.
Its a question of economies of scale, In Salmonds ego dream, Scotland is acting like the tail trying to wag the dog
No Peter, if Scotland votes for independence, on the day of separation it will cease to be part of the UK, it will be a third party nation outside of both the UK and the EU the concept of Continuator status for Scotland is a legal fallacy as is the idea that Scotland would also have access to a proportion of the UK rebate to offset any future EU membership costs.
When the United Kingdom was unlawfully taken into the EU in 1973, Scotland did not have a Parliament because devolution had yet to become a reality, soon legal terms the United Kingdom gained membership as a single sovereign nation, not a combine of 4 separate nations.
Devolved Government is a facility gifted to a region, it is not necessarily a permanent gift, if by its actions it threatens the security of the state that has granted the gift, its powers can be removed as was the case with Northern Ireland when Stormonts powers were removed.
Alex Salmond, just like like David Cameron is fond of making promises that patently can not be delivered, it is all just spin.So when Salmond states that an independent Scotland would have a fast track entry to the EU and that it would also benefit from the UK rebate but that Scotland would remain within the UK £Sterling currency union that is no more believable than Cameron,s claim that he will win back a number of areas of UK Parliamentary sovereignty from Brussels to present to the UK voters in the 2017 European Union referendum if as is increasingly becoming unlikely he is still in power.