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Fresh criticism on wind farm buys  

An independent report has raised questions about an enterprise company’s decision to invest in two wind turbine firms that subsequently went bust.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) put more than £14m into Cambrian Engineering and then Camcal.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said the investment did comply with its internal proceedures, but questioned the effectiveness of the procedures.

HIE said the report showed its decisions were “sound”.

PricewaterhouseCoopers point to Cambrian engineering’s assertion of projected growth in sales from nothing to £32.5m in three years through its work at the Arnish yard in the Western Isles.

They said no evidence was provided to HIE of the company’s assertion it was virtually certain to win the contract to build all 300 turbines for a proposed giant wind farm on Lewis.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also questioned whether Cambrian’s management had the right skills or understanding of the renewable energy market.

They said HIE’s interrogation of the company’s proposals could have been better researched and more rigorous.

Donnie Macaulay, of HIE, said: “This report essentially acknowledges the difficult market conditions of this potentially lucrative industry.

“However it also confirms our confidence that we are working in the right way and in the right arenas to get the most benefit out of this very valuable asset at Arnish.”

BBC News


23 May 2007

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