SSE Renewables sues over Offaly wind farm deal

A subsidiary of multinational energy company SSE is being sued in a multi-million dollar lawsuit over the development of a major wind farm in the Midlands.

The case is being taken by former shareholders of Green Wind Energy (Wexford) Ltd (GWE), the firm that sold its Yellow River wind farm project near Rhode, Co. Offaly to SSE Renewables in 2019.

Former GWE shareholders claim they face “significant losses” after SSE Renewables changed the way it intends to sell the electricity generated at the wind farm.

They are seeking damages for alleged breach of contract, misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. Earlier this week, the case was admitted to the Commercial Court.

SSE Renewables declined to say whether the case would affect its plans to complete the wind farm by the end of 2024.

The project involves the construction of 29 turbines with the potential to power over 66,000 homes and offset over 70 million kilos of carbon dioxide annually.

SSE Renewables bought the project after GWE negotiated agreements with landowners to facilitate construction and fixed price contracts for civil and electrical work, as well as turbine delivery, installation and maintenance. GWE had also fended off legal challenges to its plan approval.

However, in a new lawsuit surrounding the shovel ready project, former GWE shareholders allege that SSE Renewables breached the terms of the sale.

The plaintiffs in the case against SSE Renewables Holdings Ltd are Smart Wave Ltd, Don, Niamh, Donal and Alison Curtin, Paraic, Margaret and Alan O’Rourke and Emma Glennon. They claim that they agreed to the sale based on representations that turned out to be false and untrue.

In an affidavit, Don Curtin said the deal was structured so that certain sums would be paid for voting stock in the company and upon the achievement of certain milestones, other non-voting stock would be sold to SSE Renewables.

The plaintiffs received a sum of €5 million for shares after one milestone, the granting of a grid connection, and €4.1 million for shares after a second, the issuance of a go-ahead.

Mr Curtin claims the agreement provides for the sale of electricity through one of two renewable energy schemes, Refit or Ress, which guarantee a floor price for electricity generated over 15 years. Joining either program would have been another milestone.

However, according to Mr. Curtin, lawyers for SSE Renewables informed plaintiffs in September that they were withdrawing from the Ress process and instead pursuing a corporate power purchase agreement.

Mr. Curtin alleged that this course of action contradicted SSE Renewables’ representations and would result in significant financial losses for them. He said based on comparable offers, the Ress case could have yielded a lump sum of €2.5 million for the former shareholders.

A second litigation in the lawsuit relates to an alleged editorial error that would allegedly allow SSE Renewables to purchase certain shares at an “unfair and unjust” price. SSE Renewables sues over Offaly wind farm deal

Fry Electronics Team

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