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The Wind Tycoon, Labour Donations & £36 Million In Subsidies

Robert Mendick, The Sunday Telegraph

Dale Vince’s company, Ecotricity, has given £250,000 to the Labour party – of whose energy policies it has been a major beneficiary

Dale Vince has done all right for a former hippy. Reckoned to be Britain’s wealthiest green energy tycoon, he lives in a castle, drives a £750,000 electric sports car and sits on a fortune worth more than £100 million.

Not content with saving the planet, last week he rode to Ed Miliband’s rescue too. Just as the Labour leader was reeling from accusations he had deserted British business, Mr Vince intervened.

Through his green energy company Ecotricity, Mr Vince donated £250,000 to Labour’s election campaign. In so doing he became the most prominent entrepreneur to back Mr Miliband’s Labour Party.

A Telegraph investigation into Mr Vince’s financial dealings suggests he has reason to be grateful to the Labour Party – and in particular Mr Miliband, who ran the Department of Energy and Climate Change for two years during Gordon Brown’s premiership.

An examination of official government data shows Ecotricity presently receives in the region of £6 million a year through a generous subsidy introduced by Labour to encourage renewable energy projects.

In total, Ecotricity, which Mr Vince wholly owns, has been paid £36m in subsidies since 2002, when the scheme began, and which Mr Miliband oversaw as Climate Change Secretary from 2008.

The subsidy is added to household electricity bills and paid by consumers, pushing up bills for all households. It is probably fair to say Mr Vince has earned more from the Labour-introduced subsidy than any other individual in the UK.

Ecotricity’s accounts show a huge empire being built by Mr Vince. The business owns 19 wind farms, mainly in England, two solar parks, and an online retailer selling eco-products.

The company supplies electricity to more than 150,000 customers and, according to the last available accounts for the 12 months to April 2014, enjoyed a turnover of £70 million.

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