Alex Salmond’s obsession with wind farms has cost taxpayers almost a million pounds every day since the SNP took power, it was revealed yesterday.
The nationalist government has lavished £1.8 billion-worth of subsidies on wind farm operators since 2007 in its bid to meet self-imposed renewable energy targets.
The National Grid also handed energy companies a further £80million to switch wind turbines off to stop them producing too much power.
Despite the huge subsidies, the cost of wind energy has added nearly £70 a year to the average household energy bill.
There are currently around 2,400 wind turbines scattered across 219 wind farms in Scotland, meaning that each turbine has cost the taxpayer £750,000 in subsidies.
The majority have been approved or built during the SNP’s time in power, though the Renewable Obligation subsidies’ scheme was introduced by the previous UK Labour government.
The subsidies handed to operators are recouped via a supplement added to all domestic and commercial energy bills.
Critics say that the SNP’s readiness to indulge wind farm developments with taxpayers’ money has led to a rush by operators, landowners and farmers to build turbines.
Tory MSP, Murdo Fraser, convener of Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, said: “My view is we should have a balanced energy portfolio, and wind should be in that mix.
“Yet, what we are seeing is wind farms being developed at breakneck speed at the expense of all other sources.
“And with such generous subsidies being lavished upon operators, landowners and farmers, it’s little wonder they all want to get in on the act.”
In 2012, the First Minister claimed that the spread of wind farms “enhances our appeal as a country” despite their widespread unpopularity among the public.
Lyndsay Ward, of Windfarm Action Group, said: “It’s clear that people are suffering as a direct result of wind farms. They can’t sleep at night because of the noise, they can’t sell their homes when they are too close to turbines and their views of the countryside have been destroyed.
“Yet the government continues to allow these giant monstrosities to be built near our homes. Communities are under siege.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland already provides over a third of the UK’s renewable electricity generation, and with a tightening gap between electricity capacity and demand, the rest of the UK will continue to rely on Scotland’s renewable energy resources to keep the lights on, meet its targets and maintain energy security.”