National Grid will offer a new set of subsidies to diesel generator operators under a scheme designed as insurance against the lights going out, The Guardian has reported.
Subsidies levied on household energy bills have helped drive a boom in polluting “diesel farms” across the UK to meet periods of peak electricity demand, the paper found found.
Almost a quarter of Britain’s back-up power under one programme for the National Grid is being provided by tiny fossil fuel power stations.
The mini stations are brought into play by grid managers when there is a rapid surge in demand for power – for example, when large numbers are watching major sporting events such as the World Cup or Wimbledon finals, or during major TV events such as the final of Strictly Come Dancing.
In the coming weeks the grid is to offer through auction a new set of subsidies to diesel farms under a scheme designed as insurance against the lights going out.
The Guardian stated that neither the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the grid nor many of the companies involved are keen to provide much information about this new industry.
DECC confirmed that diesel generators of under 50MW could bid for subsidised contracts under the transitional arrangements – a part of a wider “capacity market” scheme.
A DECC spokesman declined to explain to The Guardian why one of the most carbon-heavy fossil fuel capacity was being encouraged, saying it was in “purdah” because of the general election campaign.