For immediate release: Sunday 2 October 2022
MACASKILL EXPOSES THE “GREAT ENERGY SWITCH OFF”
AS WIND FARM COSTS APPROACH £1 BILLION
ALBA Depute Leader and MP for East Lothian Kenny MacAskill MP has today (Sunday) published figures which show that the curtailment costs paid by National Grid ESO to wind farms for switching off turbines when the energy produced can’t be used or exported were £229 million in 2020-1
Alone with the total costs over five years approaching £1 billion at £838 million for the years 2017-18 to 2021-22.
The figures which were obtained from the House of Commons Library show that the costs to switch off wind farms were: £107 million in 2017-18; £162 million in 2018-19; £174 million in 2019-20; £229 million in 2020-21 and £166 million in 2021-22.
Branding this the “Great Energy Switch Off” Mr MacAskill is calling on the UK and Scottish Government to end the “absurdity” of tax payers paying wind farms astronomical sums to switch off energy in the midst of an energy crisis, when Scots families are struggling to pay their bills, and the “perversity” of wind farms being paid even more during the winter months.
In a statement Mr MacAskill said:
“At a time when Scots are struggling to pay their energy bills, renewable energy in Scotland is being switched off. Perversely, energy suppliers are paid more for that than for producing energy. As offshore wind comes on stream, the great energy switch off will only increase. The cost to the public purse will soon become billions.
“There’s an added perversity compounding the absurdity in that payments to curtail are highest in winter, the time when people require energy most.
“Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore renewable resources and 60% of the UK’s onshore wind.
“We must end the absurdity of switching off energy at massive cost to the taxpayer and replace that with the storage of energy and the provision of hydrogen as an alternative energy source. Other sites in Scotland, such as Cockenzie and Torness, are ideally placed to take advantage of these opportunities and should be prioritised.
“There are a range of schemes including in East Lothian that are good to go, for example, proposals to develop longer duration energy storage that require government investment so that we can develop prototype technology and then scale up from that.
“The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has failed to support such schemes. The modest sums required to develop this technology are dwarfed by the costs of curtailment
“It is time for both the UK and Scottish Governments to end this absurdity and for them to step up and to provide the action and the investment that is needed to make Scotland Europe’s renewable energy powerhouse. Only then will we be able to provide the valuable work, green jobs and new energy sources that Scotland needs. ”
The Great Energy Switch Off Absurdity
At a time when Scots are struggling to meet their energy bills, renewable energy in Scotland’s being switched off. Perversely, energy suppliers are even paid more for that than for producing energy. As offshore wind comes on stream, the great energy switch off will only increase. The cost to the public purse already over £200 million will soon become billions.
In 2019, 149 windfarms were curtailed (requested to reduce their electricity generation). 29 of them in Scotland accounted for 80% of this curtailment. Scotland’s onshore wind could have generated an extra 17.6% electricity, had they not been curtailed. Yet 2020 was not exceptional and as offshore and onshore generating capacity increases that will only increase significantly. The map below highlights the 29 windfarms which were most heavily curtailed.
The Cost of the Absurdity
Energy producers are told to curtail production or just switch off. The information below from House of Commons Library shows payments for both onshore and offshore wind. In 2020 these constraint payments amounted to £243 million in Scotland. Some of these windfarms could have generated 20 to 57% more than they actually generated that year. The amount constrained in offshore was negligible given limited output, the overwhelming majority was paid to onshore suppliers.
Scotland understandably as it produces more and faces the difficulties of transmission has the highest payments as disclosed in the below table.
Source: House of Commons Library
|Country||Rated power Onshore (MW)||Generated Onshore (GWh)||Curtailment Onshore (GWh)||Curtailment Onshore (%)|
Source: BEIS Energy Trends, Table 6.1, March 31st 2021, www.ref.org.uk Source (N.Ireland): Eirgrid Annual Renewable Constraint and Curtailment Report 2020
There’s an added perversity compounding the absurdity in that payments to curtail are highest in winter, the time when people require energy most. That’s disclosed in the below information.
Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind capacity and 60% of the UKs onshore capacity. Scotland produces more energy than she requires for domestic use.
In 2020 renewables met 97% of Scotland’s needs.
That means that energy is and needs to be exported. However, constraints on the national grid mean that often there’s too much energy being produced, and it cannot be transferred south or elsewhere. It’s then that energy producers are paid to curtail their production or more often just switch off. The map below shows the excess capacity in Scotland between all energies produced and peak requirements.
Onshore Wind energy capacity is increasing in Scotland, and offshore wind is now coming ashore, with its capacity even greater. Constraint issues will therefore continue and indeed worsen unless action is taken. Steps are being made to cable energy from Scottish waters directly south. That is another issue and the answer there should be payment to Scotland for the resource being taken.
In any event improvement to the grid or cabling projects are only commencing and will take years to conclude. Not only in the interim but even then that is unlikely to be sufficient given the capacity that’s going to be produced, especially through new offshore wind developments.
However, there are steps which would avoid the constraint issues with the National Grid. The absurdity of switching off energy when people require it and compounded by paying energy suppliers more for doing so would be ended. It would also provide opportunities in local communities where the energy is produced or comes ashore. Employment could be created, and businesses generated.
The solution is to store the energy not to switch it off. To do that batteries should be installed which can store the excess energy for 4 or more hours, allowing energy to be stored when the electricity grid is constrained and be put back into the grid as and when needed. The technical term is Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES).
Anyone investing in solar panels will be aware of the benefit of acquiring a battery not simply putting the energy onto the grid. The energy saved in the battery can be utilised when grid costs are highest maximising the benefit of the renewable energy.
Utilising far larger batteries and on industrial not just household scale would offer such opportunities. Such batteries are being developed as indeed are other such battery innovations whether for transport or other uses. These batteries are the size of a shipping container.
The storage of such energy would also allow for the production of green hydrogen which could then be used locally and sold far wider. The availability of energy and access to water has seen proposals for such a plant in East Lothian and indeed others elsewhere in the country.
So far BEIS has failed to support such schemes. Yet the modest sums required to develop this technology are dwarfed by the costs of curtailment. The costs of renewable energy especially wind are significantly cheaper than gas. The Scottish Government have failed to push for such schemes and action not just words are needed.
It’s absurd to turn off energy and pay producers more when there’s a way to store it and use it. It’s time for LDES, so that we stop paying windfarms to turn off the electricity generation. Significant funds have been found to promote nuclear energy in England and the costs of upgrading the UK grid are massive.
It’s cheaper to invest in storage and the opportunities it offers are even greater. Let’s end the absurdity of curtailment and invest in the opportunity for work, jobs and new energy sources here in Scotland.UK Parliament Disclaimer: this e-mail is confidential to the intended recipient. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender and delete it from your system. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted. This e-mail has been checked for viruses, but no liability is accepted for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail. This e-mail address is not secure, is not encrypted and should not be used for sensitive data.
This is simply excellent work from Kenny MacAskill.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
BEAT THE CENSORS
The purpose of this blog is to advance Scottish Independence. That requires honesty and fair reporting of events and opinions. Some pro SNP Indy sites have difficulty with that and seek to ban any blogger who dares to criticise the Party or its leader. As Yours for Scotland will not bend our principles and allow this attack on free speech to be successful we rely on our readership sharing and promoting our articles on a regular basis. This invalidates the attempts at censorship and ensures the truth gets out there. I thank you most sincerely for this important support.
Are available from the Home and Blog pages of this website. This ensures you are advised of every new article published on Yours for Scotland. Join the thousands already subscribed and be the first to get the news every day. You will be most welcome.
This site has never sought donations, indeed we have a £3 limit alongside a message further explaining that donations are not required. That has now changed as the costs of running this blog for 2022 have already been raised in donation, therefore for the remainder of this year all donations made to this site will be forwarded to Salvo to help them educate Scots on the 1689 Claim of Right. This is vital work and we must all do what we can to support it.
It is time to fight back! Attend YESTIVAL in Freedom Square in Glasgow on the rescheduled date of 8th October Let’s get the show back on the road.
JOIN THE SCOTTISH LIBERATION MOVEMENT
Sign up at Liberation.Scot. Check spam folder if verification message does not arrive within a couple of minutes. It is from the membership of Liberation.Scot that the members of the first Scottish National Congress members will be drawn.