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Green Jobs Fade As Wind Farms Face Axe

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Tim Smedley, Financial Times

The so-called “green jobs” boom in renewable energy has not lived up to the hype. As government policy flip-flops in favour of one form of energy to another – one minute offshore wind, the next minute, fracking – investors are losing faith.

In March, SSE, the big energy company, announced a freeze to its bills until 2016, at the expense of 500 jobs and its involvement with several offshore wind parks. In the past year too, the second phase of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, was scrapped; energy group RWE ditched its Atlantic Array and Scottish Power Renewables dropped plans for an Argyll Array.

Global investment in clean energy fell 12 per cent in 2013 according to Bloomberg. So are we watching the nails go in the coffin of an unaffordable technology? And has the green jobs bubble burst along with it?

The UK government’s Energy Act 2013 and Electricity Market Reform were intended to bring some calm. But the early response from the market has not been positive.

Dan Lewis, energy policy adviser to the Institute of Directors, says: “It’s quite hard to go to the market and say ‘I need to raise this much cash for these types of projects – oh and by the way, we’re seeing subsidies cut across Europe, so we don’t know what it is going to cost’.”

Even while investors come to terms with yet more policy change, it is not time for fossil fuels to dance on the grave of renewables just yet.

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