The Anonymous Widower

Cost Of Turning Off UK Wind Farms Reached Record High In 2021

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Drax.

This is the first paragraph.

The cost of turning off wind farms in the UK has reached record levels, according to a new report.

The press release makes these points.

  • Investing in more long duration electricity storage, such as expanding Drax’s Cruachan pumped storage hydro plant in Scotland, would mean more excess renewable power could be stored and made available when required, cutting costs and carbon emissions.
  • The cost of turning off UK wind farms to manage the electricity system rose from almost £300m during 2020 to over £500m in 2021, contributing to higher energy bills and carbon emissions, according to a new report.
  • Costs increased substantially because the system relied on expensive gas power to manage periods when wind power was curtailed, as not enough electricity storage was available to prevent the excess renewable power from wind farms going to waste.

Drax give these reasons for the problems.

This happened as a result of constraints in the transmission system and a lack of long-duration storage capacity, which is needed to manage periods when renewable power generation outstrips demand.

The problem is going to get worse as we increase the amount of wind power in the UK.

Penny Small, Drax’s Group Generation Director sums everything up.

This report underlines the need for a new regulatory framework to encourage private investment in long-duration storage technologies.

The UK is a world-leader in offshore wind, but for the country’s green energy ambitions to be realised we need the right energy storage infrastructure to support this vital technology, make the system secure and reduce costs.

Drax’s plan to expand Cruachan will strengthen UK energy security, by enabling more homegrown renewable electricity to power British homes and businesses, reducing system costs and cutting carbon emissions.

A good framework has been created for wind farms and many more are being proposed and developed.

Frameworks are needed for both transmission systems and long-duration energy storage capacity.

June 21, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Yes Drax are right over solutions but whats downright criminal is how so many heavily subsidised wind farms have been allowed to connect to teh transmission system that couldn’t support them. Many of these are financial engineering products winning with already excessive ROC payments which are being further boosted by high system marginal pricing/MWh due to price of gas. Then to cap it all NG pays them to switch off when its too windy.

    There is a massive failure here by OFGEM/BEIS and its costing the consumer a fortune rather than saving us money. Quite frankly as a matter of national urgency all available battery storage capacity should be allocated to every windfarm grid connection point so excess energy can be absorbed. Of course NG fix for this is to spend anotehr 4B on grid reinforcement with Scotland to England HVDC links buthet are years off from being commissioned so we need action now.

    By the way from 1/4/22 to mid June NG have already spent £121m on constraints and its not exactly been that windy over the last two months.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | June 21, 2022 | Reply


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