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Wind Tycoon Funds Labour Party – Out Of Subsidies You Have Paid For!

February 16, 2015

By Paul Homewood




Ed Miliband has been attacking big business donors to the Tory party lately, which makes this story doubly ironic:


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.


Dale Vince poses with his electric car on the Brighton to London Future Car Challenge (EDDIE MULHOLLAND)


Ecotricity also owns a football club, which has banned the sale of meat pies and burgers at half time, and even its own “eco car” business, including the manufacture of an electric sports car, called Nemesis, which Mr Vince has used as his runabout.

The car cost £750,000 to make, more than half of it paid for by the UK taxpayer through a technology grant made under the last Labour government.

A new wind farm being planned by Ecotricity in Lincolnshire will be the fourth largest in England and is expected, in the future, to earn Mr Vince a further estimated £4.75 million a year in consumer subsidy.

An analysis of Ecotricity’s wind farms and solar parks shows just how much Mr Vince has benefited from Labour’s generous subsidies.

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a think tank that is critical of the scale of subsidies, examined data on electricity output produced by Ecotricity over the past 13 years since the Renewables Obligation scheme was set up to encourage the subsequent growth in wind farms. The scheme effectively allows onshore wind turbine owners to charge double for the electricity they produce.

Data available to the think tank shows the subsidy for Ecotricity’s wind farms and solar parks has cost consumers almost £50 million in 13 years, of which £40 million has been paid out since 2008, when Mr Miliband was put in charge of energy and climate change policies. The faster growth in recent years is reflected in additional wind turbines built by Ecotricity in that period.

Dr John Constable, REF’s director, said: “We estimate that Ecotricity’s wind turbines have cost consumers about £48 million pounds in subsidy since 2002 when the Labour government introduced the Renewables Obligation scheme.

"They are currently costing consumers about £6 million a year in subsidy, but this will rise to over £10 million a year when work is completed on the consented Heckington Fen wind farm, which will be one of the largest wind farms in England.”

Accounts posted by Ecotricity show its six directors – including Mr Vince and his second wife Kate – earned amore than £800,000 between them. But Mr Vince has also received more than £3.1 million from his company in the form of an interest-free loan.

One City accountant who studied the Ecotricity accounts said Mr Vince would be taxed on the interest-free loan as a benefit in kind of about £60,000 – far less than if he had received such a sum as a salary and been charged the top rate of income tax on it. The accounts do not state what the loan to Mr Vince was for – nor offer an explanation as to why no interest was charged on it.

A tax barrister said one explanation for the loan was it allowed Mr Vince to “delay” paying tax on what is effectively his income. Mr Vince must repay the loan at some point or else face an income tax demand at the top rate of 45 per cent while his company will be charged corporation tax if he does not repay the loan within a certain period.

Jolyon Maugham QC said: “Loans to directors are relatively commonplace. Sometimes they’re used as a soft alternative to third-party borrowing. But they can also be used to delay a tax liability on what is essentially income. If the loan isn’t repaid within nine months, there’s usually a corporation tax of 25 per cent on the lender.”

In announcing the £250,000 donation to Labour, Mr Vince said: “We’re putting our money where our heart is – we’ve watched the Coalition Government systematically undermine not just the renewable energy industry in Britain but the whole green economy. We feel compelled to act.”

Under pressure from Conservative backbenchers, the Coalition has cut back on subsidies to wind farms in the past two years while applications to build new wind farms have been regularly refused under a change in planning rules.

Wind farm developers can expect a much more favourable environment should Mr Miliband be elected Prime Minister. In 2009, when secretary of state, he said opposing wind farms should be as “socially unacceptable” as “not wearing your seatbelt or driving past a zebra crossing”.

Opponents of wind farms have argue they are expensive, unreliable and unsightly.

Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, questioned Ecotricity’s donation to Labour and said he feared policies to slow down the growth of wind farms would be reversed under a Labour government. He said that would lead to increased electricity bills for the poorest households, forced to pay extra for higher green energy subsidies. “It is odd that Mr Miliband is involved in this expensive redistribution,” he added.

Martin Hill, Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council, who opposed Ecotricity’s plans for 22 turbines, each 410ft tall, at Heckington Fen, also questioned the Ecotricity donation. “Are they trying to buy policy through the Labour Party?” he asked.

Ecotricity was granted planning permission in 2013 for Heckington Fen but construction on the site has yet to begin. The company said last year it was trying to overcome a problem with installing a technology to ensure the turbines do not affect aircraft radar in the area. The turbines cannot be built unless the technology is in place, jeopardising a wind farm that would be by far the largest in Ecotricity’s portfolio.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    February 16, 2015 12:11 pm

    It is a similar story to the one about the Oregon Governor here

    Sorry for the Off topic but I am not sure if you picked up the significance of these 2 comments.

    This one on your “Can we trust NOAA” thread.

    “DD More permalink
    February 13, 2015 8:38 pm

    Trust is a 2 way street. If we are to trust them on the Arctic, then we are saved over the whole world. This is their published data.

    (1) The Climate of 1997 – Annual Global Temperature Index = 16.92°C.

    (2) 2014 annual global land and ocean surfaces temperature = 0.69°C above 13.9°C = 14.59°C

    Which number do you think NCDC/NOAA thinks is the record high? Failure at 3rd grade math or failure to scrub all the past. (See the ‘Ministry of Truth’ 1984).

    Has anyone seen the headline NCDC/NOAA Reports 2.33°C Temperature Drop Since 1997

    Thanks to Nick at WUWT for the find.

    And this one on Real Science referring to Tom Nelson on the same topic

    Bob Koss says:
    February 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Tom Nelson points to a comparison of 1997 with 2014. It shows NOAA lowering past global temperature by more than 4F since 1997.

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    February 16, 2015 12:20 pm

    “We’re putting our money where our heart is – we’ve watched the Coalition Government systematically undermine not just the renewable energy industry in Britain but the whole green economy. We feel compelled to act.”

    Of course you do – you can see the money pit drying up….

  3. February 16, 2015 1:45 pm

    Dale Vince is a hypocrite and, like Winnie the Pooh, of very little brain.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      February 17, 2015 8:38 pm

      But he has enough ani,mal cunning to make a great deal of money out of everyone else.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    February 16, 2015 2:03 pm

    TBH, donations to political parties to curry favour happen across the spectrum, and throughout history.

    The least tainted is probably The Monster Raving Loony Party. A collection of adjectives descriptive of whoever has the majority in Westminster.

  5. February 16, 2015 8:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Ballyduff Araglin Tallow.

  6. Bloke down the pub permalink
    February 16, 2015 9:46 pm

    I have the dubious privilege of being able to see Dale’s fort on the hill from my living room window.

  7. Brian H permalink
    February 16, 2015 10:39 pm

    One hand washes the other.

  8. PeterMG permalink
    February 17, 2015 9:36 pm

    Bloke down the Pub I can see his fort from my kitchen. Didn’t know he owned it until a week ago, maybe I won’t be so upset now at the development across the road that may block the view.


  1. Wind Tycoon Funds Labour Party – Out Of Subsidies You Have Paid For! | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT | Cranky Old Crow

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