by Owen Martin
When we spend money to have our electricity generated by wind, how much are we saving on not having to import fossil fuels ? One might expect that € 1.00 spent on wind is € 1.00 less that has to be spent on fossil fuels.
In 2015, wind energy received € 426 million in energy payments. Energy payments are what generators receive daily in the electricity market and are normally set by the price of gas. On top of this, wind receives a subsidy from the PSO Levy. For 2015, this amounted to about € 85 million. Wind also receives 7% of its revenue in capacity payments so about € 35 million and 5% of wind energy has to be shut down for security reasons for which they receive about € 20 million in curtailment payments.
That's a total of € 566 million in direct payments to wind generators.
According to the SEAI, wind energy displaced € 233 million in fossil fuels for 2015. That means that we have to spend € 1.00 on wind energy to replace 40 cents worth of fossil fuels. If we include the increased grid and system costs to accommodate all this wind, then of course the savings are even less than that.
It's not the best value for money for the consumer but for greens value for money is not a priority and for the wind companies of course it provides a great return to shareholders.
1) SEMO total energy payments for 2015 equals € 1.8bn
Wind provided 23% of electricity according to SEAI, this means wind received € 426 in energy payments.
2) PSO Levy for 2015 :
Assumed that wind made up 90% of PSO payments to renewables.
3) "Capacity payments accounted for between 7% (for wind) and 30% (for peaking plants) of generators’ revenue in 2013".
426m + 85m = 511 / 93% = 549m * 7% = 38m
4) "In Ireland, the dispatch-down energy from wind resources was 348 GWh: this is equivalent
to 5.1% of the total available wind energy".
Based on what wind received in energy payments ( €426m / 6823GW = € 62.40 MW/hr) they received roughly € 21m in curtailment payments ( 348GW * €62.40)