Queen's £38m a year windfarm windfall
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Oct 24 19:55:07 BST 2010
How much the European Monarchies cost:
- Great Britain £68m
- Holland £33.8m
- Norway £23.9m
- Belgium £11.7m
- Denmark £10.5m
- Sweden £10.2m
- Spain £7.4m
- Luxembourg £7.2m
Queen's £38m a year windfarm windfall
Wind farms: Set to make Royal family £38m a year
By Martin Delgado and Christopher Leake - 24 October 2010, 11:28am
The Royal Family have secured a lucrative deal
that will earn them tens of millions of pounds
from the massive expansion of offshore windfarms.
They will net up to £37.5m extra income every
year from the drive for green energy because the
seabed within Britain's territorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate.
Under new measures announced by Chancellor George
Osborne last week, the Royals will soon get 15%
of the profits from the Estate's £6bn property
portfolio, rather than the existing Civil List arrangement.
Experts predict the growth in offshore windfarms
could be worth up to £250m a year to the Crown Estate.
There are already 436 turbines in operation
around the UK's 7,700-mile coastline but within
a decade that number is set to reach nearly 7,000.
Prince Charles is a vociferous campaigner for
renewable energy sources such as these, but is
opposed to turbines being erected on land particularly near his own homes.
He has described windfarms as a 'horrendous blot
on the landscape' and has refused to have any
built at his Highgrove home or on the Duchy of
Cornwall estate. But he has expressed enthusiasm for siting them offshore.
The Crown Estate said profits from windfarms in
Britain's territorial waters which extend
almost 14 miles from the coast could rise to
£100m a year, giving the Royals £15m.
But industry experts said this was an
under-estimate and that the true figure was
likely to be nearer £250m by 2020, with £37.5m for the Royals.
They currently receive about £30m a year from the
Civil List and other grants a figure that will
be frozen until 2012 when it will be replaced by
the new mechanism, called the Sovereign Support Grant.
The level was calculated based on the Crown
Estate's current annual profit of £211m 15% of
which would be in line with current income. But
if the experts are correct about windfarm
returns, the Monarchy's budget would more than double, to around £68m.
The canny boost to Royal finances was quietly
slipped through as part of last week's Comprehensive Spending Review.
In what one source described last night as a
'masterstroke' by the Prince's closest adviser
Sir Michael Peat, 250 years of history was
overturned by scrapping the arrangement under
which taxpayers' money has been used to fund the
Royals and pay for the upkeep of their palaces.
The Civil List which has financed the Monarchy
since King George III surrendered all revenues
from the Crown Estate after running up massive
debts meant the Royal finances were accountable
to Parliament, but the Sovereign Support Grant will avoid such scrutiny.
Old Etonian accountant Sir Michael, 60, Charles's
Principal Private Secretary, is the former Keeper
of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace. He is
the great-grandson of the founder of accountancy firm Peat Marwick.
'There is nothing Michael does not know about
Royal finances,' said a source. 'His depth of
knowledge will have been invaluable. Charles has
always believed the money from the Crown Estate
was taken away from the family. Now they have got
it back. One could say they have pulled a fast one.'
Last month, the Prince visited an exhibition in
Wales about offshore energy. David Jones, of
Marine Energy Pembrokeshire, said the Prince had
asked a number of questions about wind-driven technology.
'Charles seemed enthused about the potential for
marine energy in Pembrokeshire. He asked about
how the devices worked, where they would be
deployed and whether there was public and governmental support.'
By 2020, 6,400 turbines each one rising 500ft
above the sea are expected to be in operation
around the UK coastline. Household energy bills
will have to rise to pay for the £75 billion
expansion, which has been described as one of the
biggest engineering projects in recent history.
The EU has told Britain it must generate more of
its energy needs from renewable sources. But
critics say the plan to increase Britain's
dependence on green energy is flawed and could
leave homes and business suffering routine power cuts within five years.
Sir Martin Holdgate, former chief scientist at
the Department for the Environment, said: 'There
is pressure to act on climate change. But when
you look at the cost per unit, it is a rather
expensive way of providing electricity.'
In its latest accounts, the Crown Estate says
that its offshore windfarm business is
'experiencing exponential growth and we expect it
to provide a significant source of total income in the next ten years'.
Revenue to the Estate from the windfarms rose by
44% last year to a 'low base' of £2.6m.
But with the third round of contracts handed out
in January, companies bidding for the work say a bonanza is on the horizon.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
More information about the Diggers350