Domestic energy bills are helping prop up Britain’s wind farm industry, with every job in the sector effectively costing £100,000 a year in subsidies, according to a reports.
The Sunday Telegraph said wind turbine owners received £1.2bn in consumer subsidies last year. Supporting 12,000 jobs, the subsidy – paid by a supplement on electricity bills – equates to around £100,000 per post.
The wind industry, which already faces increasingly fierce opposition from residents in areas ripe for hosting the technology.
Lord Teverson, who leads on energy and climate change for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, said the subsidies were not primarily for “a job creation programme”, but rather allowed Britain to compete in renewable technology.
He said: “It (a subsidy) is in terms of getting us ahead in the world and gives us skills we can export. It is a good investment for the future. The positive is Britain wants to be at the forefront of this.”
West Country-based Lord Teverson, who lives in region boasting more than 100 turbines, said some element of subsidy for renewable energy projects was “inevitable” while the technology is still in its infancy.
He added: “There are some high start-up costs and money is needed for investment, but after that the energy is free.
The Government said the wind subsidies did more than simply support jobs, citing multiple benefits as key to the payments.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “Subsidies for wind have multiple In 2012, over five per cent of all electricity generated came from wind power, helping to reduce our dependence on imported gas and cutting damaging carbon emissions.”