Losses at a green electricity joint venture between Airtricty owner SSE and businessman Michael Murnane topped €1 million last year as the company slashed debt by €10 million to €61 million, the latest figures show.
Revenues at Cork-based wind farm owner Green Energy Company Ltd fell 4 per cent to €12 million in the company’s last financial year, which ended on March 31st 2019, from €12.5 million the previous year.
Accounts just filed by the business show that losses surged to almost €1.2 million in the period to the end of last March from €170,353 during the previous 12 months.
Directors Michael Murnane and Stephen Wheeler blame increased interest, legal fees and bank interest that followed a restructuring of its debt for the sharp growth in its losses.
The balance sheet shows that Green Energy Company cut debt to €61.1 million during the year from €70.8 million at the end of March 2018. The business ended the 2019 financial year €4 million in the red, compared with a shareholders’ deficit of €2.8 million 12 months earlier.
Green Energy Company Ltd is a joint venture between SSE Renewables, part of Scottish utility, SSE plc, owner of Airtricity, and Mr Murnane, a well-known figure in the industry.
The wind farm it owns in Rylane, Co Cork, has the capacity to generate 57 megawatts of electricity, roughly enough energy to power about 20,000 homes, according to some industry calculations.
The company earns revenues from selling the electricity generated by the Rylane wind farm. Mr Murnane’s and Mr Wheeler’s report says “lower than expected wind speeds” during the financial year hit revenues.
The period covered by the accounts includes the summer of 2018, when the weather was warmer and calmer than usual.
The Government guarantees the price paid to wind farms for the electricity they generate.
Families and employers support this through a levy on their energy bills called the public service obligation. This currently stands at €2.84 a month for households and €10.35 a month for small businesses.