Wind turbines standing idle on the edge of Alnwick will not be repaired by the manufacturers, it has emerged, with the tax-payer likely having to foot the bill to get them working again.
Town councillor Sue Allcroft has been chasing the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) over the three generators at its flagship Lion House, which have rarely turned since mid-2010 following a worldwide recall of the that model – the P35 – by their Scottish-based manufacturer, Proven Energy.
Proven finally went bust last September, but was sold by receiver KPMG to Irish renewables firm Kingspan Wind.
However, Kingspan’s website states that all liabilities and warranties for P35 turbines remain with KPMG, as they did not form part of the buy-out deal.
A statement issued by KPMG on Monday said: “As Proven is now subject to insolvency proceedings, any warranty claims represent unsecured claims against the company and unfortunately the unsecured creditors will not receive a dividend in this case.”
It means that any repairs to get the turbines working again will likely have to be paid for by Defra, which is funded directly from the public purse.
Coun Allcroft said: “There seems to be a lot of passing the buck, but it’s important to establish who is responsible for repairing these turbines and getting them working again. It’s understandable that if a company goes into administration, there’s very little that anyone can do.”
“As a taxpayer, I get annoyed every time I go by them and they’re standing idle. If we have to pay for them to be repaired, then that’s what has to be done.
“If they’re not going to work and it’s cheaper to revert to the National Grid, then take them down. ”
Lion House was heralded as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Britain, winning a number of awards for its array of eco-friendly features, including rainwater recycling, solar panels and a biomass boiler.
A spokeswoman for Defra said: “The wind turbines have been affected by a number of technical recalls but we have persevered to keep the units operational.
“We were advised in September 2011 by Proven Energy of a potential defect in the manufacture of the shaft of the Proven 35-2 wind turbine installed at our Alnwick site. Their advice was to brake the device on safety grounds until such time that they were able to advise that the operation of the unit can be safely reinstated. Defra is trying to establish whether the units can resume operation, but this has been complicated by the manufacturer entering administration.
“Defra will return the units to operational status as soon as possible, as long as there is no ongoing health and safety risk.”
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