Consumers face paying up to £2.5 billion a year to switch off new wind farms and other power plants because transmission cables will not be built quickly enough to carry the electricity they generate. National Grid’s control room, which is responsible for keeping the lights on, pays power plant owners to “constrain” output when the network does not have enough capacity to transmit their electricity to where it is needed. It also pays for power plants elsewhere in the network to fire up and replace the generation that has been constrained. These “constraint costs” amount to about £500 million a year, but new estimates from National Grid’s Electricity System Operator forecast that they will at least double and could increase five-fold to £2.5 billion within five years. “This is a result of the rapidly changing generation mix, with significant quantities of new renewable generation connecting, and the fact that the timescales required to make the large transmission investments to increase network capacity to fully accommodate all of this new generation can be much longer,” it said.
Times 29th June 2021 read more »