It is hardly surprising that ScottishPower is focusing its plans for more wind farms primarily in Scotland.
Alex Salmond triggered the ‘green’ energy boom when he infamously declared that he wanted to turn Scotland into the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’.
But the gap between the rhetoric and the sobering reality for hard-pressed domestic bill-payers is growing into a chasm, as revealed by stark new figures.
They show a record £125million was ploughed into so-called ‘constraint payments’ last year – handed to energy firms to shut down turbines when it gets too windy.
This is because the creaking National Grid cannot always absorb the electricity the turbines generate, so the companies which own them are handsomely compensated when they have to tum them off.
Bill-payers, inevitably, pick up the growing tab – up by 15 per cent in a year.
But ministers on both sides of the Border have their fingers firmly in their ears when the payments are criticised.
Ed Miliband, when he was energy secretary in 2009, was ultimately responsible for the scandal of constraint payments, but subsequent governments have failed to take remedial action.
Nor are the Nationalists – with their apparent eagerness to scatter yet more eyesore turbines across the country – inclined to press for reform. Indeed, the SNP defends the costly practice as ‘necessary’.
The fault-ridden Western Link, from Ayrshire to north Wales, constructed at a cost of £1blllion to export Scottish wind energy to the South, was designed to reduce constraint payments.
But there is little evidence that the project – completed three years late – will offset the enormous cost to the consumer of funding constraint payments, which have clearly spiralled out of control.
Strong regulatory intervention is needed to prevent the bill growing any further but it, too, has been conspicuously absent.
In the meantime, the devastation of much of our natural heritage continues apace as the landscape is scarred forever by turbines – and we can expect many more of them to litter the countryside in the years ahead.
When will our politicians find the courage to end this lunacy – and start putting the interests of bill-payers first?
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