The full extent of the profits to be made by wind farms in Britain can be spelt out for the first time.
It predicts that wind farms will generate greater income following the introduction of a new tax on energy from gas and coal-fired power stations because it will drive up the cost of electricity over the next seven years.
The new tax, intended to cut pollution from traditional sources of electricity, will allow wind farm operators to charge more for the power they produce, with the extra costs expected to be passed on to consumers through their bills. Energy industry experts predict the new tax will cost electricity customers an extra £1billion a year from 2016.
The documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph show how:
* Wind farms are already making hundreds of millions of pounds of profits, with half the income from existing consumer subsidies;
* Coal-fired power plants are being forced to close ahead of the new carbon tax as it will make operating too expensive;
* Electricity prices are expected to increase at an accelerated rate due to the resulting reduction in power supplies;
* Energy costs will rise by around eight per cent each year between now and 2020, meaning wholesale prices will almost double.
The details are contained in a 70-page prospectus drawn up by Barclays Bank and sent to financiers looking to invest up to £260million in a new energy fund, Greencoat UK Wind, which is planning to buy stakes in six big wind farms around the UK.
The document will anger backbench Tory MPs, who have campaigned for wind farm subsidies to be cut – only to discover that they will effectively be receiving a new subsidy on top of existing ones the industry receives to encourage renewable energy.
Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative MP who has led a campaign to reduce wind farm subsidies, said: “I find it hard to believe that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has pulled the wool over the eyes of those in the Treasury.
“This prospectus explains the massive rush of wind applications, as developers know they will get rich whilst pushing thousands of energy consumers into fuel poverty.”