National anti-wind farm campaign group Scotland Against Spin has raised the alarm about a renewable energy company engaged by Fife Council to develop turbines on their behalf at 25 Council-owned sites. It has accused Glasgow-based company Phenix Energy of being on “a fishing expedition, regardless of the cost to Fife Council or the anxiety created for local communities”.
SAS spokesperson Linda Holt commented:
“Spurred by the massive subsidies on offer, the wind industry has seen a lot of speculative fee-driven operators set themselves up as wind developers. They promise the world to clients who have to pay for their work whatever happens.
“Phenix Energy is an off-the-shelf company that was only registered in January of this year. Its website is skeletal and only gives dots on a map for current projects, but refuses to disclose any details which would identify them. In any case none of them can have gone through the planning process since the company became legally registered. One of its two directors was previously employed at Proven Energy, a small turbine manufacturer which went bust in 2011, leaving many owners of their turbines in the lurch over maintenance.
“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.”
Linda Holt confirmed that she has put in a Freedom of Information request to Fife Council requesting details of how the contract was awarded to Phenix Energy and the cost to the public purse of Fife Council’s plans for its own turbines.