The true cost of Alex Salmond’s wind farm obsession can today be revealed as £1.2billion, dealing a crippling blow to families all over Scotland.
A devastating analysis by leading scientists and energy industry experts predicts that £469 a year will be added to every household’s electricity bills by 2020.
The increase will be entirely generated by the drive to make Scotland 100 per cent reliant on renewable energy, pushing already sky-high charges close to breaking point.
Energy think tank Scientific Alliance Scotland (SAS) also warned the cost per family could run into “several thousands pounds” if Scotland becomes independent, as ministers are gambling on an export demand that may not materialise.
Families are already forking out an average of £67 a year to cover the cost of building new wind farms and hydro, tidal and wave energy schemes.
In a strongly worded attack on the First Minister, SAS chairman Professor Tony Trewavas predicted that renewable energy would prove to be “Emperor Salmond’s new clothes”.
The University of Edinburgh academic added: “Recent assessment by experts in the Scientific Alliance Scotland indicate a likely cost to the average consumer household of £469 in 2020 before any electricity is used at all.
“The Government has said its Renewable Obligation is costing consumers around £20 per year but it has failed to clarify that is the cost per head. Our calculations show that the average cost per household is currently £67 and it will keep on rising year after year.
“But electricity is so basic, needed for everything, that when the cost of it goes up the price of everything else goes up too. If you are earning £100,000 a year then £67 or even £469 is nothing to you but when you are on £20,000 a year it is a hell of a big deal.
“If people did not have to worry about their electricity bill they would be spending more, which in turn would boost the economy.
“Although prices will eventually come down in the future we don’t know how long it will take and who will be here to benefit from the decrease.”
The government predicts there will be 2.5million households in Scotland by 2020, therefore the total renewables bill would be £1.17billion – even before the cost of actually using electricity.
The figure was calculated by a panel of experts, including a former senior engineer from the National Grid.
Last week, Holyrood’s energy committee agreed that the ambitious 100 per cent target could be met – providing the funding was available.
However, the SAS said no consideration had been given to how independence would leave Scottish consumers solely responsible for the cost of building new wind farms.
Westminster’s Energy Minister Ed Davey has already cautioned the SNP for putting all its “eggs in one basket” and predicted Scotland would struggle to fund the “renewables revolution” without the UK’s help.
He warned it would not be right to expect the Welsh, English and Northern Irish to subsidise a “foreign” country.
Prof Trewavas agreed, adding: “The costs of meeting the government target would ultimately be borne by Scottish consumers.
“Independence would leave Scottish households with additional bills of several thousand pounds before any electricity was used.”
He also accused ministers of putting the “narrow view of a minority about independence” ahead of the country’s best interests.
Just weeks ago American tycoon Donald Trump attacked the renewable plans claiming the country was committing “financial suicide”.
He warned the relentless spread of wind turbines north of the Border could destroy the £11billion tourism industry.
But his claims were rubbished by the energy committee, which insisted there was no evidence to back them.
Last night a spokesman for the Scottish Government said the committee had recognised the energy targets as “both important and achievale”.
He added: “UK Government analysis of costs has shown that renewable and energy efficiency policies are likely to cost consumers almost £100 less by 2020 than in their absence.”