Criminals see an opportunity to tap into billions of euros' worth of European Union subsidies.
Organised groups linked to the Italian Mafia are among those to have infiltrated the industry, Jason Wright, senior director of Kroll's consulting group, told The Times.
While emphasising that the overwhelming majority of European wind projects were "entirely legitimate", he said that criminals were increasingly investing in the industry, both to qualify for subsidies and to launder profits from drug-running and other illegal activities.Kroll, he added, was doing brisk business conducting due diligence on renewable energy projects on behalf of big banks and other potential investors.
The American-owned Kroll has detected a sharp increase since 2007 in the number of cases involving fraud and corruption in the wind energy sector - chiefly in Italy and Spain but also in Bulgaria, Romania and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe.
"Renewable energy is completely dependent on subsidies, so it is clearly an area for corruption," Mr Wright said.
"Wind farms are a profitable way to make money because of the subsidies, and they are also a great way of laundering it."- Wall Street Journal
Spain is proceeding with plans to cut prices for solar power from new generators, the Industry Ministry said, after talks on broader changes to renewable energy subsidies broke down last week.
Funds including London-based HG Capital and Denmark’s AP Pensions have argued that the government was reneging on its legal obligation to maintain the subsidies for 25 years.
The Spanish Banking Association estimated domestic banks have loaned 40 billion euros to renewable-energy projects. Some 600 photovoltaic plant operators may face bankruptcy if the subsidies are cut, the Photovoltaic Industry Association has said.
Germany’s pioneering solar feed-in tariff law, established 10 years ago, requires power companies to buy renewable energy at a fixed feed-in tariff rate over 20 years, with gradual decreases yearly. The country seeks to source 18 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy. In the United States, solar rooftop systems produce 1,600 MW of electricity, with less than 800 MW found in California. Canada has 100 MW installed, around half of that installed in Ontario.
Germany’s feed-in tariff cuts comes a week after Spain slashed subsidies enjoyed by solar thermal and wind projects. The Spanish government has decided to limit the number of hours concentrating solar plants can receive tariff premiums and delay the activation of solar plants previously approved for feed-in tariff support. - Germany cuts subsidies to Solar
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Ontario Power Authority quietly chopped the rate being paid to more profitable installations from 80.2 cents to 58.8 cents per kilowatt hour- Ontario’s rate cut for solar power a blow to green energy
Subsidized Premium Rate Guaranteed for 20 years
Renewable Portfolio Standards
Emission Reduction Credits