March 14, 2013

Shah says company financial struggles won’t affect turbines

By Ariel Wittenberg | March 14, 2013 |

FAIRHAVEN – Fairhaven Wind developer Sumul Shah attempted to quell fears Wednesday that the financial troubles of his construction company would affect the town’s two wind turbines.

Shah’s company, Lumus Construction, recently sold off inventory and office supplies at an auction in January and moved offices in an effort to cut costs.

“Like many companies these days, we have had hard times that have been difficult for us,” Shah said in an interview with The Standard-Times. “We had an auction and moved offices in an effort to increase working capital and help pay bills, but none of this relates to Fairhaven Wind.”

Lumus Construction is the parent company of Solaya Energy, which owns 1 percent of Fairhaven Wind LLC. Other investors in the project are Palmer Capital Corp., CCI Energy LLC and its parent company Cambridge Energy Holdings LLC.

Shah would not go into the specifics of Lumus’ financial woes but said Fairhaven Wind’s status as a limited liability company shelters it from being affected by any financial issues its investors may have.

“Fairhaven Wind was designed to protect the turbines from this kind of thing and Lumus or Solaya’s financial situation has no bearing on the turbines,” he said.

Ken Pottel, a Fairhaven resident who belongs to Windwise, which opposes the town’s turbines, said he does not trust Shah’s assessment of the situation.

“He is not going to tell you anything that might be damaging,” Pottel said.

Pottel said he has become increasingly skeptical of Shah since it was revealed two weeks ago that one of the turbines malfunctioned during a state noise test.

“How did that malfunction magically fix itself when the testing was done?” Pottel asked. “It definitely raises questions about (Shah’s) general credibility.”

For his part, Shah accused Windwise of “taking joy in the downturn of the economy,” saying “The stuff I have seen and heard from them about this is not appropriate. It is pathetic and reprehensible.”

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