Households face paying £400 million too much for wind turbines under a loophole that allows investors to install unnecessarily large machines and claim double the amount they should be paid, a think-tank has claimed.
Under the loophole, owners of about 100 turbines have limited their output to take advantage of much more generous subsidies for small-scale turbines.
As a result, communities have been blighted by turbines up to 80m (260ft) tall that are “derated” to produce only the same power as a turbine 30m shorter, according to the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research. A derated turbine receives about £100,000 in “excess subsidies” annually, giving investors a return of up to 25 per cent and enabling the project’s developers to make far higher profits, its report said.
Subsidies for wind turbines vary according to their size, with larger ones receiving less per unit of electricity generated. The report says: “Wind turbine project developers are labelling their larger machines as being a lower capacity than they really are.”