The £1.1 billion underwater electricity cable linking Scotland with England and Wales has failed, leaving consumers to foot the bill for up to £2.4 million in compensation to windfarm companies. The Western Link interconnector, developed for National Grid and Scottish Power Transmission, “tripped” a week ago and has been out of action while engineers investigate the cause. Neither National Grid nor Scottish Power was prepared to identify the reason for the failure, but said that they would soon issue a “further update”. The Western Link is a key element in the Scottish government’s renewable energy network, routing electricity to the rest of Britain and enabling energy imports when generation in Scotland is low. Data collected by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a charity which scrutinises the green energy market, shows that £2.4 million has been paid in “constraint payments” to wind-energy companies in the first week since the link went down. Operators of onshore wind farms receive these payments to power down turbines when electricity supply outstrips local demand and bottlenecks in the grid prevent exports. The money is paid out by the National Grid but is ultimately charged to consumers and added on to electricity bills.
Times 26th Feb 2019 read more »