Chris Huhne, the UK’s energy secretary, said yesterday he was worried about the “financing of big renewable projects, particularly big wind farms”, which could hinder the government’s pledge to make sure 15 per cent of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.
He has reason to be worried. At the height of the financial crisis, some of the UK’s biggest wind power projects were hit by a wave of withdrawals from financiers. In May 2008, Shell backed out of the London Array, while later that year, BP said it would focus instead on US wind power. Then, early last year, Iberdrola said it would cut its investment in the UK by 40 per cent.
But Huhne may be being a little disingenuous here. Industry sources tell us the major disincentive from building wind power capacity at the moment is not a lack of private investment, but worries about the government’s commitment to the necessary infrastructure.