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The True Cost Of Britain’s Wind Farm Industry

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Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, The Sunday Telegraph

Every job in Britain’s wind farm industry is effectively subsidised to the extent of £100,000 per year, The Telegraph can disclose.

Government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy.
Government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy. Photo: REUTERS

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

The subsidy was disclosed in a new analysis of official figures, which showed that:

• The level of support from subsidies in some cases is so high that jobs are effectively supported to the extent of £1.3million each;

• In Scotland, which has 203 onshore wind farms — more than anywhere else in the UK — just 2,235 people are directly employed to work on them despite an annual subsidy of £344million. That works out at £154,000 per job;

• Even if the maximum number of jobs that have been forecast are created, by 2020 the effective subsidy on them would be £80,000 a year.

One source, who owns several wind farms, and did not wish to be named, said: “Anybody trying to justify subsidies on the basis of jobs created is talking nonsense. Wind farms are not labour intensive.”

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