The Green Lie – Eurocrats Play Green Con Game

The fatcat ecocrats exposed: Web of ‘green’ politicians, tycoons and power  brokers who help each other benefit from billions raised on your bills

  • Four of nine-person Climate Change  Committee, official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were  until recently, being paid by firms that benefit from  committee decisions

By David Rose

PUBLISHED:22:14 GMT, 14  December 2013| UPDATED:22:14 GMT, 14 December 2013

The Mail on Sunday today reveals the  extraordinary web of political and financial interests creating dozens of  eco-millionaires from green levies on household energy bills.

A three-month investigation shows that some  of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal  price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their  efforts.

Vested interest: Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer) is chairman of the Committee on Climate ChangeVested interest: Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer) is  chairman of the Committee on Climate Change

Enquiries by this newspaper have revealed:

  • Four of the nine-person Climate Change  Committee, the official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were  until very recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions.
  •  A new breed of lucrative green investment  funds, which were set up to expand windfarm energy, are in practice a means of  taking green levies paid by hard-pressed consumers and handing them to City  investors and financiers.
  • £3.8 billion of taxpayers’ money funds the  new Green Investment Bank, set up by the Department of Business and Skills. One  of its biggest deals involved energy giant SSE selling windfarms to one of the  new green funds, Greencoat Wind. The Green Investment Bank’s chairman, Lord  Smith of Kelvin, is also chairman of SSE. The bank says it ‘provided expertise’ to enable BIS to take a £50 million stake in Greencoat, which helped fund the  SSE sale.
  • The same bank’s chief executive, Shaun  Kingsbury, is one of the UK’s highest-paid public sector employees. His £325,000  salary is more than twice the Prime Minister’s.
  • Firms lobbying for renewables can virtually  guarantee access to key Government policy-makers, because they are staffed by  former very senior officials – a striking example of Whitehall’s ‘revolving  door’.

Among the most astonishing features exposed  by our investigation is the way in which vehement advocates for radical policies  designed to curb global warming are making huge sums of money from their work.  Here are some of the key  figures among the new breed of  fat-cat  Ecocrats…

Ian Marchant is chairman of Infinis - now the country's third-largest renewable generator, with 7.3 per cent of the marketIan Marchant is chairman of Infinis – now the country’s  third-largest renewable generator, with 7.3 per cent of the market. He received  a ‘signing-on fee’ of £322,000 worth of shares

The scourge  of the ‘deniers’… paid £2.6million last year by his renewable energy  firm In 2009 Ian Marchant  founded the Scotland 2020 Climate Group, which unites Scottish politicians,  green activists and business people in support of Scotland’s own CO2 emissions  target.

At the group’s prestigious annual public  lecture in September, speakers denounced scientific sceptics as ‘deniers’.

Marchant, the group’s chairman, said action  had to be taken at once to stop extreme weather, and deployed an unusual  argument: ‘The increasing layer of greenhouse gases means we are trapping more  energy in the atmosphere.

‘And if you want to know what happens when  you put more energy into a volatile system, try giving a toddler some  Irn-Bru!’

Until June, he was chief executive of SSE,  the UK’s biggest renewable operator, for which he was paid £2.6 million in his  last financial year, up from £1.4 million in 2011-12. He left to become chairman  of Infinis – now the country’s third-largest renewable generator, with 7.3 per  cent of the market

He received a ‘signing-on fee’ of £322,000  worth  of shares. Last month, Infinis shares were floated, raising £780 million. Its offer brochure claimed that it was an unusually safe  investment – simply because of the levies on renewables paid by consumers and  imposed by Government diktat.

The brochure said that more than half of  Infinis revenue is derived directly from renewable subsidies, describing the  green levies added to customers’ bills as ‘stable, inflation-linked revenue  streams backed by legislation incentivising renewable power’. On that basis, it  promised an initial dividend of £55 million, a sum that would rise every  year.

An Infinis spokeswoman declined to comment on  Marchant’s dual  role, confirming he is earning £250,000 a year as  part-time  (two days a week) chairman.

The  architect of green levies – who is advising a £1.2billion solar array  project Lord Stern is the  London School of Economics professor commissioned by Tony Blair to write his  seminal 2006 review of the economics of climate change – the foundation of many  of the policies pursued today.

He is a member of the advisory board of  Abengoa, a huge Spanish renewables company. Its biggest project, a solar panel  array in Arizona, cost £1.2 billion.

Neither Stern’s spokesman nor Abengoa will  disclose how much he is paid.

Lord Stern, architect of green levies, is a member of the advisory board of Abengoa, a huge Spanish renewables company. Its biggest project, a solar panel array in Arizona, cost £1.2bnLord Stern, architect of green levies, is a member of  the advisory board of Abengoa, a huge Spanish renewables company. Its biggest  project, a solar panel array in Arizona, cost £1.2bn. Pictured with Tony Blair  in 2006

His company, NS Economics, is a vehicle for  his public speaking earnings and last year declared assets of £189,000, after  one year of trading.

Stern’s agent at Celebrity Speakers said his  basic rate for an hour-long talk was £50,000 – with first-class flights on top  for a conference in the US, and all extra expenses reimbursed.

Stern’s spokesman at LSE said he openly  declared all his interests, and had ‘built his reputation on a track record of  high-quality independent research and analysis’.

Green trust  boss whose company gets richer… every time power prices  go up One of the biggest of the  new breed of specialist renewable investment trusts is Guernsey-registered TRIG  (The Renewables Infrastructure Group).

It is chaired by Helen Mahy, former company  secretary and general counsel of the National Grid. TRIG buys nearly new  renewable plants from their operators at prices that guarantee the operators a  healthy profit – typically, about one-and-a-half times the cost of developing  and building them. But because the subsidies are so high, everybody  wins.

TRIG launched in August with a flotation that  raised £300 million. Its prospectus promised investors an immediate 5.5 per cent  dividend, rising with inflation.

Like Infinis, TRIG said its income was ‘stable’ because of Government policies: tariffs and levies will account for a  staggering 63 per cent of its revenue.

Longer-term, the prospectus added, investors  will also benefit from the rocketing price of electricity, which it thinks will  rise by  60 per cent over the next 20 years.

TRIG’s prospectus was analysed for The Mail  on Sunday by finance and energy expert Rupert Darwall. ‘They have been set up so  that investors can get exposure to the renewable energy subsidies,’ he said.

‘They are paying their investors on the basis  of the Government continuing to drive up the price of electricity. When these  guys do well, consumers are doing badly.’

A TRIG spokeswoman declined  to  comment.

The £260million green firm milking windfarm subsidies… which  you pay for Darwall also  examined Greencoat Wind, which was floated in February and valued at £260 million.

It buys windfarms at a premium and milks the  subsidies to skim off its profit and pay out dividends –  in its case, six  per cent.

A confidential report for investors by  Barclays Bank said that by investing in wind energy, Greencoat was taking  advantage of ‘the  most attractive market fundamentals in Western Europe’ – which meant, said the document: ‘We expect UK power prices to increase  progressively.’

According to Barclays, investors could expect  an extremely attractive annual 9.1 per cent rate of return, even after paying  all fees.

This was because ‘half of revenue comes from  largely fixed  index-linked Government incentives’ – in other words, levies  added to bills.

The report also pointed out that with coal  fired power plants being forced to close, ‘supply will fall significantly, but  demand won’t .  .  . we see large power price increase as an inevitability’.

It forecast an increase of roughly 40 per  cent by 2017: bad for consumers, but great for Greencoat investors.

… and how  the green interest groups work together – to line their own pockets Not  only did Greencoat buy windfarms worth £140 million from  SSE, but SSE also  owns a £43 million stake in Greencoat.

The Green Investment Bank helped to arrange  Greencoat’s flotation, and its chairman, Lord Smith, also chairs SSE.

Its directors also include David Nish of  Standard Life, which also has substantial renewable energy assets, and Dame  Julia King, a member of the government Climate Change Committee responsible for  emissions targets.

A Bank spokesman said it had strict rules and  procedures to prevent any conflicts of interest.

As for Greencoat, among its directors is  William Rickett, a former director general at the Department of Energy and  Climate Change.

Dame Julia King, 59, is also a director of the Green Investment Bank, for which she is paid £30,000 a year on top of her £272,000 salary as vice chancellor of Aston UniversityDame Julia King, 59, is also a director of the Green  Investment Bank, for which she is paid £30,000 a year on top of her £272,000  salary as vice chancellor of Aston University

How half of  key Climate Change Committee is in the pay of green business

No institution plays a greater role in  dictating green energy policy than the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – the  body set up by Ed Miliband when he was Labour Energy Secretary through his 2008  Climate Change Act.

The Mail on Sunday’s investigation has  established that four of its nine members have recently had or still have  financial interests in firms that benefit from its rulings.

Last week, the CCC urged the Government not  to water down its ‘fourth carbon budget’. This binds the UK to slash emissions  of carbon dioxide to half their 1990 level by 2025.

The budget also says that by 2030, the CO2  emitted per unit  of electric power must be less than ten per cent of what  it is at present – a cut of more than  90 per cent.

Energy analyst Peter Atherton of Liberum  Capital says this will need investment of between £361 billion and £393 billion.  Such a policy would also cut emissions from the electricity industry by about  two-thirds.

Amazingly, almost half the CCC’s members,  whose decisions affect every UK citizen and the entire economy, have been paid  by firms with green interests. They are all paid £800 a day for their part-time  CCC work,  except for chairman Lord Deben, who gets £1,000.

Dame Julia  King, 59, is also  a director of the Green  Investment Bank,  for which she is paid £30,000 a year on top of her £272,000 salary as vice  chancellor of Aston University.

The bank, funded by taxpayers to the tune of £3.8 billion, has investment in offshore wind as  a ‘top priority’.

The more the CCC’s rulings favour renewable  subsidies, the better the bank is likely to do. She lives in a house in  Cambridge, which she bought for £740,000 in 2002.

Lord May of  Oxford, a former Government chief scientific adviser, is paid an  undisclosed amount as a member of the ‘Sustainability Board’ of the global  banking giant HSBC.

In the section of its website  that  deals with its  ‘sustainability’ work, the bank lists its four biggest  green business opportunities.

Top of the list is ‘low-carbon energy  production such as  bio-energy, nuclear, solar and wind’ – all directly  affected by the CCC’s edicts.

A cross-bench peer, Lord May, 71, is an  atheist, but his stated belief that climate change is more dangerous than  nuclear war has made him suggest that religious leaders ought to persuade people  to support the green cause. ‘Maybe religion is needed,’ he said in 2009.

‘A supernatural punisher may be part of the  solution.’

Former adviser: Lord May is now paid as a member of HSBC's sustainability boardFormer adviser: Lord May is now paid as a member of  HSBC’s sustainability board

As this newspaper revealed in January, CCC  chairman Lord Deben, 74, was until  recently chairman of Veolia Water UK PLC, which connects windfarms to the  National Grid.

According to energy expert Professor Gordon  Hughes of Edinburgh University, the drive to renewables means new grid  investment will reach £25 billion by 2020. Deben has refused to state how much  Veolia paid  him. Company records say he resigned on November 12.

His spokeswoman said that this was because  the firm was being merged with a sister firm.

He remains chairman of his family consultancy  firm Sancroft, which advises companies on ‘global environmental  policy’. When he took up his CCC post, he  resigned as chairman of offshore wind firm Forewinds.

Prof Sam Fankhauser admits he is paid an undisclosed sum as a director of Vivid Economics, which offers business clients advice on how to respond to green Government policies - such as those set by the CCCProf Sam Fankhauser admits he is paid an undisclosed sum  as a director of Vivid Economics, which offers business clients advice on how to  respond to green Government policies – such as those set by the CCC

Sam  Fankhauser, 49, is a professor at the London School  of Economics’ Grantham Institute on Climate Change, funded by the radical green billionaire  Jeremy Grantham – the world’s most generous donor to green activist groups.

Prof Fankhauser admits he is paid an  undisclosed sum as a director of Vivid Economics, which offers business clients  advice on how to respond to green Government policies – such as those set by the  CCC.

The firm describes itself as  a ‘thought  leader’ on the ‘economics of climate change’, adding that it offers ‘insights  that are not available elsewhere, allowing us to model the  effects of policy on prices [and] profits’.

Other CCC members have  spent their  careers as  academics in fields that help  fuel green  campaigns.

Sir Brian Hoskins, a fierce critic of climate  sceptics, is a climatologist at Imperial  College, London, where he is  director of another institute funded by Grantham.

Jim Skea is also at Imperial, where he is  Professor of Sustainable Energy, and was launch director of the Low Carbon  Vehicle Project.

A CCC spokeswoman said it  had ‘rigorous  checks and balances to ensure that there are no conflicts of interests for  committee members’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523726/Web-green-politicians-tycoons-power-brokers-help-benefit-billions-raised-bills.html#ixzz2nhD4hmQy Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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