Fife Council have contracted Phenix Energy as their agents for developing their ambitious plans for placing turbines in Parks and Schools throughout Fife, with the taxpayer footing the bill for the planning and construction costs, and the cost of subsidies for the turbines, added to our household energy bills, a stealth tax which will affect the fuel poor the hardest.
Currently, Phenix Energy, is a newly established company, first formed in January 2013, but the company has previous experience in the wind energy industry; mainly running Proven Energy, a company that went into administration after a serious fault developed with its flagship turbine model (P35-2), which required the company to inform owners of the turbine to temporary cease using the turbines.
One of the Proven turbines were installed at the Gorran school in Cornwall, which the Daily Mail reported;
The school had unveiled its 15-metre turbine in 2008. It was designed to provide it with free energy and a surplus it was hoped could be sold back to the National Grid. But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months jammed – showering the school’s playing field with debris. (our bold for emphasis)
Sue Hawken, chairman of the school governors, said: ‘It has been an absolute nightmare from start to finish. We’ve put a claim in but realistically I don’t expect to get a single penny from this company. Unbeknown to us, the 15 kilowatt turbine that Proven Energy installed was completely unproven technology that never really worked.’
This experiment by the school, cost the tax payer £55,000 for the wind turbine which was only 15 metre in height, which gives an indication of the costs the tax payer will have to face when Fife Council start purchasing the turbines they are hoping to erect across Fife, including at the Lochgelly High School and Lochgelly Public Park.
Lochgelly High School – Turbine Location
Turbine Height: 34.6m (113.6 ft)
Do you support a turbine at Lochgelly High School?
- No (84%, 412 Votes)
- Yes (16%, 81 Votes)
Total Voters: 493
Lochgelly Public Park – Turbine Location
Turbine Height: 26.55m (87.1 ft)
Do you support a turbine at the Public Park?
- No (87%, 497 Votes)
- Yes (13%, 72 Votes)
Total Voters: 569
Criticism from National Organisation
The scoping applications submitted by Phenix Energy on behalf of Fife Council has already received sharp criticism from Scotland Against Spin spokesperson, Linda Holt;
The twenty-five scoping applications Phenix has submitted to Fife Council are sloppy, lacking in local knowledge and brazenly opportunistic. When one concerned resident wrote to Phenix to ask why an application for a supposed single 45m turbine at Craigtoun Park actually showed two turbine sites, managing director Steven Barclay replied that the map on the portal “is currently only for discussion purposes” and part of “discussions with planning”. Discussions with “statutory stake-holders and also the people within the wider locale” will not take place until the discussions with planning are concluded and Fife Council will not accept comments from members of the public.
This is not how reputable developers behave, and it is at odds with Scottish Government guidelines on good practice for wind developers. Why is Phenix Energy spending thousands of pounds on scoping applications to find out whether projects are viable when it could just meet planners for nothing? Why has it completely ignored local communities or those who use the Council facilities – schools, parks, sports fields – it has earmarked for turbines?
This looks like a rotten deal for Fife Council and Fife communities. We would like to know how much due diligence was done by Fife Council before awarding this company the contract, and how much Council Taxpayers’ money is going to Phenix Energy to fund its fishing expedition
Scotland Against Spin has submitted a Freedom of Information request regarding the costs to the taxpayer. If it is made public, we will publish the details on the site.
So what do you think? Should taxpayers money be spent by the council to install turbines? Are we getting value for money? Is this an innovative project by the council or is it a misappropriate use of tax payers money? Whatever your views, please let us know in the comments below.