One of the companies building a windfarm off the Furness coast is netting more cash from the government than any other in the UK.
Dong Energy, which is behind the Walney Windfarm, has a large stake in three offshore developments that will net the Danish firm more than £98m in subsidies. Dong also has a 50 per cent share in a 175-turbine farm at London Array.
The government incentives, known as Renewable Obligations Certificate payments, are proportionate to the amount of energy produced by each windfarm.
The subsidies are added to household energy bills, which are set to soar as the cold months draw in.
The government has said the subsidies are no more generous than those offered in other EU countries. But two thirds of all wind turbines in the UK are owned by foreign firms.
Another company behind a windfarm off the coast of Walney is Swedish company Vattenfall.
A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “The subsidy levels in the UK are lower than a number of nations.
“We have the best free wind resources in Europe, so it’s no surprise global firms want to invest and build in the UK.”
Investment into offshore wind has created thousands of jobs across the UK, hundreds of which are in Cumbria.
Stuart Klosinski, industrial developmentmanager at Furness Enterprise, commended companies like Dong for their investment in the local economy.
He said: “Dong last year invested around £12m into the Barrow area whilst ramping up construction of the Walney windfarm.
“This year they have added substantially to that with local spend with suppliers and, by building a multimillion pound second Operations and Maintenance base, we expect operation and maintenance spend year by year over the life of the farm to see up to half the reported £98m subsidy come back locally.
“Dong’s presence here is stimulating new activity such as Cwind’s training centre and we would also be keen to see Dong and other wind farm developers deliver much more of their multi-billion pound Irish Sea Wind Farm spend in either research and development or manufacturing in the coastal areas adjacent to where they site their developments.”
A spokesman for RenewableUK, the trade body for the industry, said: “The liberalised electricity market brought in by Margaret Thatcher has made the UK a great place to do business.
“Factoring in the best wind resource in Europe, it’s no surprise that companies from overseas would want to invest here. The industry employs 10,000 people in the UK, and invested nearly £2bn last year alone.”
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