December 13, 2011

Wind taken out of turbine’s sails

Evening Telegraph, 12 December 2011

Tom Butler thought he was investing in green energy by buying a wind turbine, but after its production company went bust he has been left with a £60,000 piece of scrap metal.

Mr Butler, 73, bought the 15kw turbine as part of his efforts to go green and become more energy efficient.

He had already invested in solar panels, underfloor heating and a borehole for his Great Addington home.

But his green intentions cost him dearly after the manufacturers, a Scottish company called Proven, identified a serious fault with the model and advised all owners to shut them down.

The situation became even worse for Mr Butler when Proven went into administration in September and the company that took over, Kingspan, decided not to continue supplying any spares or servicing for his model.

Mr Butler believes he may be one of about 1,200 people who have spent £60,000 on this particular wind turbine.

He said: “Just before Proven went into administration, the company advised that all Proven 15kw turbines should be shut down for health and safety reasons as a serious fault had been identified in the turbine.

“This left about 1,200 people nursing a £60,000 investment in green energy with just a monument.

“Kingspan continues to market some of Proven’s small wind turbines, but they are not supplying servicing or providing spare parts for the 15kw turbine.

“To date, I’ve received no communications from Proven or Kingspan. All I know so far is I have a £60,000 heap of scrap. So much for going green.

“The Proven 15kw wind turbine was approved by the Government, which also paid a grant to anyone who installed this model. The Government also paid to owners a feed-in tariff known as FITS. I’d urge all potential purchasers of wind turbines to proceed with caution.”

Mr Butler has contacted Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Louise Mensch to ask if the issue of people stuck with a Proven 15kw could be put to Parliament. He believes the Government has “a moral responsibility” to owners because the model had passed its requirements.

Mrs Mensch said: “I plan to look into it for him.”

URL to article: