Author Archives: Duncan Easter

Electricity Prices for the year from 1st November 2023

Our previous contract had extremely high unit rates, though various discounts lowered the average rate to Park consumers.

As of 1st November 2023 a new import contract applied to electricity imports to the Park Ecovillage. Without discounts, the average price across the year is expected to be about 29.5p/kWh (excluding the NFD distribution charge and VAT).

The price will be somewhat lower than this for usage to 31st March 2024 due to ‘windfall’ discounts being applied. There is a fixed sum remaining to be passed on, so the price will depend on the Park demand. The December average price will be about 26p/kWh.

Rates and discounts to Park consumers in the year ending 31st October 2023

2023 saw very high energy costs for everyone across the country, largely linked to the war in Ukraine. Unit rates for Park consumers were at times heavily subsidised by the government, but the level of discount  was usually only decided after the power had been used and an invoice already sent. This made it impossible to maintain stable prices, causing further difficulties for FWP, NFD and Park consumers.

As was required by the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme and the Energy Bill Discount Scheme, all discounts received by FWP on our imported electricity were passed on to NFD. FWP also matched these government discounts on the electricity we generated.

  • The total government discounts received came to £106,958
  • FWP matched discounts came to £75,437
  • FWP ‘windfall’ discounts shared to 31/10/23 came to £64,285 (out of a total of £80,787)

The electricity costs rose so much on 1st November 2022 that these significant discounts were not enough to avoid large price rises. Though it varied considerably, the average price to Park consumers across the year was 34.68p/kWh.

In addition to the above discounts, each household was eligible for a £400 discount by applying through Moray Council.

Windfall Discounts

The extremely high electricity prices experienced in 2023 resulted in unexpected ‘windfall’ profits for Findhorn Wind Park. See our customer information page to find out how our electricity is priced.

The windfall profits arise from electricity that was generated by the wind turbines and used directly on site, without export to the grid. In determining a reasonable profit for these units, FWP valued them at 18p/kWh – the average electricity price in the Park the previous year.

This resulted in ‘windfall’ profits of £80,787, of which £66,910 have been used to reduce NFD bills to customers for usage between 1st April and 30th November 2023. The remaining £13,877 will be used to reduce prices for Park consumers for usage between 1st December 2023 and 31st March 2024.

See our disappointing production figures for the year ending 31st October 2023. The poor production meant there were fewer units both generated and used directly on site that generate windfall profits. It also means more units had to be imported at the very high import costs. This reduced the effective per unit discount that could be achieved.

Production for the year to 31st October 2023

Our financial year ending last October saw disappointing production due to poor winds throughout most of the year.
  • FWP generated 971MWh of renewable electricity from our wind turbines and PV arrays.
  • In addition, we estimate private PV systems generated a further 45-50MWh of renewable electricity.
  • The Park Ecovillage usage was 1,055MWh, so on-site generation fell short of total demand by 3.4%.
  • FWP also exported 477MWh of renewable power when the wind turbines generated more than the Park could use, saving a CO2 emissions off the site.

Production for the year to 31 October 2022

Our financial year ending last October saw our best production for eight years. Since then our Vestas V17 turbine, Moya, has been decommissioned, reducing our generation capacity by 10%. Particularly notable were the winds continuing throughout the summer months.

  • FWP generated 1,229MWh of renewable electricity from our wind turbines and PV arrays.
  • In addition, we estimate private PV systems generated a further 40-45MWh of renewable electricity.
  • The Park Ecovillage usage was 1,106MWh, so on-site generation exceeded total demand by 14.9%.  
  • FWP also exported 621MWh of renewable power when the wind turbines generated more than the Park could use, saving a CO2 emissions off the site.

Is Wind Energy Free?

The wind, like the sun, tides and waves, is a source of free energy. However it is not free to ‘harvest’ that energy, turn it into electricity and deliver it to our homes. Buying and erecting a wind turbine is a major cost and can be thought of as an advance payment for the electricity it will produce. Routine maintenance is essential to ensure that a wind turbine is a good investment.

Unless repairs are made when needed, a wind turbine may fail to deliver the electricity anticipated at the time it was purchased. There is a risk involved and, like an old car, there will come a time when the cost of repairs may not make economic sense. An assessment has to be made and a major overhaul may be required.

The wind turbines at Findhorn were built in 1995. They operated in Denmark for 10 years before Findhorn Wind Park purchased them and erected them here in 2006.

Read about our turbine refurbishment programme here.

Using Batteries and Going Off-Grid

FWP continue to monitor the role and price of battery systems for the Park Ecovillage. The scale of batteries required to take the Park Ecovillage off-grid is prohibitively expensive. As much of the battery capacity would be used (discharged and recharged) infrequently, the cost of the electricity from the batteries becomes very expensive.

Batteries can reduce the cost of running the Park Ecovillage electricity network:

  • A smart grid capable of reducing peaks of demand on an ongoing basis would reduce FWP import costs.
  • Strategic placement of batteries where the NFD network is weak may avoid the need to lay new cables of larger capacity.

Rising Electricity Prices

We understand the sharp rise in electricity prices is very concerning. From 1st Nov. the cost of importing power will increase by 170% – 2.7 times the price we currently pay. FWP and NFD are working together to do what we can to limit the effects on consumers at the Park, but large price rises may be unavoidable.

The Energy Price Cap

The domestic energy price cap applies only to domestic supplies by licensed electricity suppliers. The Park Ecovillage has a single non-domestic supply to Findhorn Wind Park Ltd and so, unfortunately, the energy price cap does not apply.

New Findhorn Directions Ltd is the supplier to consumers at the Park. See the Customer Information page for further information. Neither NFD or FWP are suppliers licensed by Ofgem, the industry regulator that sets the energy price cap.

Support from Findhorn Wind Park

Licensed suppliers will be compensated for their costs in complying with the Ofgem energy price cap. Although the energy price cap is not binding on FWP, we will use some of our profits to reduce electricity prices at the Park in the coming year. It is our intention to supply NFD at a price matching or below the price cap, however we regret that we cannot guarantee this.

As all our income is earned through the generation of electricity, it is essential that the wind turbines are maintained in operational condition. FWP committed to a turbine refurbishment programme at the start of 2022. This limits the profits we will make in the next few years, but will ensure the turbines run for many more years. Continuing to generate electricity at the Park will make more protection from the market electricity price possible in the long term.

Energy Bills Support Scheme Discount

The Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. ‘Park homes’ in general are not eligible, however the government has said:

If you live in a park home, houseboat or off the grid

The government has confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the 1% of households who are not eligible for the discount.

This includes households without a domestic electricity meter and a direct relationship with an electricity supplier, for example if you live in a park home, houseboat or you live off the grid.

As NFD supply consumers at the Park and hold accounts for individual households, it is expected that NFD will be responsible for making these payments. However, as yet the “further funding” referred to by the government has not been made available.

Government Support for Business Consumers

Support for business consumers was announced on 21st September for six months from 1st October. We are hopeful that FWP will be eligible for a discount on our grid imports from 1st November, when we will have to pay much more for imported electricity. We will pass on any discount received to Park consumers via NFD. As yet we do not know what this discount will be.

Government Announcements and U-turns

We apologise for not having clear information available. Information from the government has been slow to arrive (in part exacerbated by the complications that arise because the of the electricity supply arrangements for the Park Ecovillage) and has recently been reversed very quickly. We will do our best to keep you informed.

For further information please see:

Our Customer Information page

Our Turbine & Performance page

Turbine Refurbishment Programme Begins

This month FWP bought a used Vestas V29 wind turbine that was being taken out of service. The nacelle, blades and hub are now in Denmark where they will be refurbished by WindTech AS. By September we expect to have exchanged the refurbished turbine with one of our operating V29 turbines.

This is the start of a turbine refurbishment programme that will be completed in 2023. It is expected to see the life of our wind turbines extended to 2035 or beyond.

Production for the year to 31 October 2021

Our financial year ending last October was less windy than usual. This was true across Europe and was a contributing factor to the current low gas storage levels and high energy prices.

Findhorn Wind Park production from both wind and solar fell 8.4% short of the total demand for electricity in the Park during the same period. We do have a 100% renewable import contract, so all the electricity consumed within the Park ecovillage was from renewable sources.

  • FWP generated 1,013MWh of renewable electricity from our wind turbines and PV arrays.
  • In addition, we estimate private PV systems generated a further 40-45MWh of renewable electricity.
  • The Park Ecovillage usage was 1,103MWh, so on-site generation fell short of total demand by 4.3%.  
  • FWP also exported 491MWh of renewable power when the wind turbines generated more than the Park could use, saving a CO2 emissions off the site.