Onshore wind farms are being paid £30 million a year to sit idle during the windiest weather.
The payments are made because the cables which transmit power from the turbines to the National Grid cannot cope with the amount of electricity they produce during stormy conditions.
Ministers are launching a fresh crackdown on the compensation charges – which ultimately end up on customers’ bills – and are threatening to force power companies to reduce the cost of the payments.
Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, has written to renewable power companies warning that he is ready to change the law to force wind farms to lower their prices if they fail to cut the costs voluntarily.
The scale of the compensation payments, which can be disclosed for the first time, will fuel opposition to wind generators from campaigners who argue that they are inefficient and blight the landscape.