TORY plans to scrap onshore windfarm subsidies were branded “wrong-headed”,”perverse” and ”downright outrageous” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

And analysis from a leading energy expert warned that it could ultimately lead to the “lights going out this Christmas”.

Yesterday morning the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change announced that it would scrap existing subsidy schemes a year earlier than planned.

Renewables groups have warned that this puts thousands of projects at risk - the majority of them in Scotland.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing complained that his counterpart in Westminster, Amber Rudd, had not even bothered to consult with him first.

Ewing said that the decision may be the subject of a judicial review: “The UK Government has ignored the concerns of businesses and organisations who are integral to the future energy security of both Scotland and the UK, as well as to environmental organisations who recognise the importance of renewable energy in helping reduce emissions.

"The UK Government have chosen to place at risk a huge investment pipeline, conceived in good faith by developers based on statements from the UK Government.

The Minister continued: “Therefore we have warned the UK Government that the decision, which appears irrational, may well be the subject of a Judicial Review.”

Ending the subsidy had been a Tory manifesto commitment, but the industry was expecting it to come in 2017 rather than 2016.

Chris Williams, from Muirhead Energy Company, says the removal of the subsidy could see a project that his organisation has spent the last two-and-half-years working on being “scuppered”.

The company are waiting to hear if an extension to the Muirhead Wind Farm in Fife will receive planning permission.

Now, even if it does, it will likely be too late for the “grace period” being granted by DECC and may struggle to be completed.

“We’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of thousands to get to this point” said Williams, “This is adding a big amount of uncertainty into the market.”

Williams continued: “It seems to be completely perverse. Onshore wind is the cheapest renewable energy and there are still big targets to reduce carbon emissions across the board, whether that’s from electricity production or transport or anything else. And it makes sense that the best way of doing that as a nation is the way of least cost.”

The Tories believe the policy will be popular with some rural communities who view windfarms as eyesores.

Scottish Conservative Energy Spokesman, Murdo Fraser MSP said: “Communities across Scotland who have felt themselves under siege from inappropriate wind developments will be delighted that the UK Conservative Government is delivering on its manifesto commitment to remove subsidies for new onshore wind projects.

“This is a Conservative Government standing up for communities that the Central Belt SNP couldn’t care less about.”

More than £800million of subsidies – which are paid for through consumer bills – helped onshore wind generate five per cent of the UK’s total electricity last year, according to DECC.

Announcing the plan, Amber Rudd said: “We have a long-term plan to keep the lights on and our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families.

“We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance of public subsidies.

“So we are driving forward our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new wind farms.”

Energy expert Professor Peter Strachan from Robert Gordon University warned that the decision would likely have a devastating impact.

“The decision in Scotland alone has been estimated at the loss of £3billion in new energy infrastructure investment. Furthermore between 5000 to 6000 onshore wind farm jobs are now at risk,” Strachan said.

“The bulk of new onshore wind farms were to be built in Scotland, so the effects will be felt more in Scotland. Costly legal action will inevitably follow, with the UK taxpayer being left to pick up the tab.”

The professor continued: “Policy decisions that make the UK less attractive to invest in compared with other jurisdictions must surely call into question the judgement of Amber Rudd’s Treasury colleagues. One can only conclude that the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has failed in her first test and has put us much closer to the lights going out this Christmas or next.”