THE Scottish Government is being urged for national guidance on how much wind farm developers should pay in community benefits ("Guidance call over wind farm benefit for residents", The Herald December 11).

The current payment of almost £7m is likely to treble by 2017 and could be closer to £50m by 2020.

This money isn't blowing in the wind. It comes from higher fuel bills or higher taxes.

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The base load (a constant supply to meet the overnight needs) is provided by the Longannet coal-fired power station. The daytime increase comes from the nuclear stations and hydro power.

Wind energy is as unpredictable as the wind. If wind turbine electricity is fed into the grid overnight, the Longannet load has to be reduced. The power station is then operating at less than its optimal load and becomes inefficient. The operational costs of Longannet go up as a result. So do your fuel bills.

Wind farms cost the Scottish taxpayer at every step of their construction and operation.

The turbines are manufactured in Germany and Denmark, providing a useful boost to the German and Danish economy at our expense.

When the wind turbines are up and running, the operators get a guaranteed price for electricity fed into the National Grid. This is known as the strike price. The strike price for onshore wind power is £100 per megawatt hour. The market price for electricity is £50 per megawatt hour.

For every megawatt hour of wind power fed into the National Grid, the consumer is paying double the market rate. The more wind turbines there are, the more wind power is fed into the National Grid, the higher the cost for the consumer. With 100% onshore wind, we would be paying double the market cost of electricity.

Offshore wind turbines are more expensive to install and operate. The strike price for offshore wind power is £155 per megawatt hour, more than three times more than the market price. There are fears in the Government that this strike price is too low to attract investment in offshore wind; 100% offshore wind would treble the price of electricity at the current strike rice.

Wind power is not free. Have you wondered why there is a rush to build a wind turbine on every available piece of ground in Scotland? It is a cash bonanza, a treasure trove of public money there to be claimed for little or no investment.

John Black,

6 Woodhollow House,

Helensburgh.