By James Salmon
Plans to build more wind farms are ‘deluded’, one of Britain’s biggest
investors warned the Government.
Dr Nigel Wilson, chief executive of insurance giant Legal & General, said
the controversial green energy strategy will carpet the countryside with
‘ugly modern windmills’ and result in even higher bills for hard-pressed
Wilson yesterday confirmed plans to invest more than £1billion a year on
infrastructure projects including homes, roads, and airports.
But he said he would not put a single penny into wind farms because they
are too ‘inefficient’ and ‘expensive’.
In an outspoken attack, Wilson said: ‘The Government is deluding itself
that it is saving the world by building these ugly modern windmills.
‘This is a very expensive and inefficient way of producing electricity. I
fear we will end up having to import it from elsewhere.’
He added: ‘It is sad that normal people are having to pay even more for the
government’s inefficient energy strategy, on top of their already very
expensive energy bills.’
The comments are a blow for the government, which is trying to persuade
insurance companies to invest in big infrastructure projects, including
As Britain’s second biggest insurance company Legal & General runs more
than £430billion of savings, investments and pensions on behalf of its
In recent years the firm has invested £4billion in UK’s creaking
infrastructure, with the money going to projects including house-building
and solar energy.
Last night campaigners described the FTSE 100 firm’s rejection of wind
farms as a ‘big blow’ to the Government’s energy strategy.
Dr John Constable, director of charity the Renewable Energy Foundation,
described wind farms as ‘risky’, ‘unreliable’ and ‘dependent on subsidies’.
He said: ‘L&G’s reservations are a big blow to the government’s plans and
suggest that prudent investors don’t think the returns on offer from
windfarms are worth the risk. Investors are also gambling on the continuing
political will to inflict very high costs on consumers’.
Ordinary households have been forced to subsidise wind farms and other
government environmental projects through higher energy bills.
The Renewable Energy Foundation estimates that consumers currently pay
around £1.6 billion a year in subsidies. This is expected to rise to
£6billion a year by 2020 to meet targets for providing 30 per cent of
electricity through green energy.
This could add £200 to households’ average annual energy bills, according
to the charity.
Last week deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced £66million of fresh
government funding for wind farms, claiming it would help make the UK a
‘world leader’ in the sector and create 30,000 British jobs by the end of
It came as he officially opened a new £1billion wind farm off the
Lincolnshire coast. The Government hopes offshore wind farms will power up
to 11 million homes by the end of the decade.