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United Kingdom

ScottishPower call for compensation over back-up

Full marks for effrontery go to ScottishPower, which has called on the government for £100 million a year to compensate conventional electricity generators for having to provide back-up for increasing amounts of intermittent wind energy that will be installed to meet the UK's 10% renewables target. ScottishPower's chief executive, Ian Russell, argues for up-front "capacity payments" to reward flexibility and maintaining supplies when the wind does not blow. Perhaps someone should tell Russell that a sum of this size would pay for the costs of the extra reserve needed to balance as much as 12% of wind on the entire UK system (about 45 TWh) -- not just 10% in Scotland (about 4 TWh). Moreover, if Russell used other renewables, such as Scotland's hydro resources, he could probably provide the extra bit of balancing needed to cope with wind for less money than he envisions. Scottish Power is developing several hundreds of megawatt of wind plant.

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