Tilting at windmills: Even Tory supporters want Mr Osborne to go green

Until Alexander Temerko added his voice to the grumbling,  public complaints had come almost exclusively from green groups, rival politicians and industry analysts

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The Independent Online

There is nothing unusual about investors wanting better subsidies and a crystal ball. And there is nothing new in potential backers of wind farms complaining that the lack of a clear government strategy is making them think twice about investing – as a key Tory party donor does today.

Alexander Temerko adds his voice to those of other potential investors in renewable energy projects. The charge is that the Coalition’s lack of commitment to green electricity, specifically its failure to set targets that would ensure sufficient demand, has undermined the confidence needed to back long-term projects.

So far, public complaints have almost exclusively come from green groups, rival politicians and industry analysts. Grumblings from investors have been kept private. What makes Mr Temerko’s intervention significant, then, is that it comes from a staunch Conservative.  But even he now says enough is enough.

With good reason. Between our weather and our island geography, Britain is unusually well-placed to build a booming wind power industry, creating tens of thousands of jobs, tens of billions of pounds of revenues and billions in taxes. But the absence of any clear renewable energy targets beyond 2020 – since the Chancellor scrapped a proposal to make the UK electricity supply almost wholly green by 2030 – make it difficult to gauge prospective demand for wind power beyond the next seven years.

Given the long-term nature of investment decisions, turbine makers and others in the supply chain are wary of setting up shop in Britain. In the short term, that means most work building our wind farms will be done abroad. In the longer term, it means Britain will not produce as much wind power as many – including The Independent – think it should.