Lord Stephen facing questions over wind farm ‘empire’

August 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The Scottish Daily Express today reported that the companies are worth more
than £1.5 million and are developing plans for four wind farms north of the
Border.

Details of Lord Stephen’s business interests emerged after allegations of
sleaze against three peers in June after they were caught in an undercover
sting by reporters posing as lobbyists for a fake energy firm. The trio
denied all wrongdoing.

Graham Lang, of Scotland Against Spin, an anti-wind farm group, said: “Lord
Stephen has had a career in politics paid for by the taxpayer and is
continuing to attempt to hoover up consumer-paid subsidies with speculative
and deeply unpopular wind farm proposals.”

The former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader has been long-term support of wind
power, telling a party conference in 2008 that British Gas profits were an
“abomination” and “the companies that should be making big profits are
Scotland’s renewable energy companies.”

Last month he tabled three amendments to the Energy Bill, although two were
withdrawn and one left to lie on file.

One called for more Government support for renewable electricity storage, one
of the largest problems facing wind farm companies because they rely on the
weather for their electricity output.

Another called for greater “certainty” on whether public subsidies “could be
relied upon” to continue in future. A third urged ministers to bring forward
an announcement on a target date for when fossil fuels should be eliminated
from the UK’s power grid.

Unless the Coalition is united about renewable power, he warned “we will send
out the wrong messages to companies involved in this sector.”

Lord Stephen set up REV with Michael Ross, a former director of the Body Shop,
after stepping down from the Scottish Parliament in 2009. Its holding
company has £1.4 million in capital, according to Companies House.

The firm’s first wind farm, which won planning permission in April despite
strong local opposition, will see three 326ft turbines built near
Auchtertool, Fife.

Another REV subsidiary relates to a live planning application for eight 360ft
turbines near Kellas, Moray. Three other companies are planning to build
wind farms in Aberdeenshire.

Lord Stephen, a former Aberdeen South MSP, formed Pilot Offshore Renewables
with Allan MacAskill, an energy expert whose brother, Kenny, is the Scottish
Justice Minister.

James Glen, secretary of Lochgelly Community Council, attacked REV’s Fife
development. He said: “I feel if any politician has a connection with a
renewable energy company, he should not be taking part in any debate about
new legislation.”

Lord Stephen and the Scottish Liberal Democrats were not available to comment.

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