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UK Energy Secretary Fears Downing Street Wind Subsidy Cuts

Ed Davey, energy secretary, has warned Conservative colleagues not to play “fast and loose” with investors in onshore wind farms, as a cabinet row looms over subsidy levels. Downing Street is putting pressure on the Liberal Democrat minister to scale back subsidies, amid calls from more than 100 Tory MPs to reduce support for wind farms, which they say produce expensive power and ruin the countryside.

Mr Davey, in a Financial Times interview, said if politics prevailed over evidence (sic) it would send a damaging message to international investors in the energy market, removing the predictability they seek.

The row over wind subsidies will add to coalition strains before the summer break, as Tory MPs – furious that the Lib Dems did not support Jeremy Hunt, culture secretary, in a Commons vote last week – plot over how to derail House of Lords reform.

Mr Davey, an avowed environmentalist, sees onshore wind power as an essential part of Britain’s energy mix, alongside other more controversial sources including shale gas, obtained by the process known as “fracking”.

The energy secretary is expected to authorise the go-ahead for shale gas development in this country within weeks under a “tight regulatory regime”. But he predicted that shale would not meet more than a small fraction of Britain’s future energy needs.

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