Rescue plan for Scots wind turbine maker

An Irish company is to take over a Scottish wind turbine manufacturer which crashed into receivership just days after it admitted a defect with one of its generators.

Kingspan Renewables is taking on 20 staff at Proven and its manufacturing facility at Stewarton in Ayrshire.

News of the deal emerged as Milnathort-based Icon Energy, which was unsuccessful in its attempt to buy Proven, said its directors had put the firm into voluntary liquidation.

Receivers Blair Nimmo and Tony Friar, of KPMG, said they would continue to handle any claims surrounding Proven’s P35-2 wind turbine.

The owners of more than 600 of them were last month told to shut them down amid fears of mechanical failure because of an acute driveshaft problem. The receivers will also deal with issues on warranties on other machines made by Proven, which went into receivership on September 16.

Kingspan Environmental and Renewables managing director Noel Crowe said it intended launching new six and three kilowatt turbines that incorporate the high performance, reliability and other features from Proven’s P11 and P7 models. These will be made at Stewarton.

Mr Crowe added: “A decision on whether or not to launch a 15kw turbine will be made at a later date, but a launch is unlikely before January 2013.”

More than 500 of the P35-2 turbines are in Scotland, with many owned by farmers.

Icon was one of Proven’s dealers, and had worked with many farmers. A statement on its website said: “Icon directors and key staff are in ongoing discussions with the liquidators and are attempting to find a way of securing ongoing employment for all staff and minimising any losses for clients and creditors alike.”

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “These are worrying times for a number of Scottish farmers who have invested or are planning to invest in wind energy and we need to get them back into the job of producing electricity and contributing to Scotland’s renewables targets.

“The fledgling renewables industry is in a period of flux and, for the sake of those farmers looking at energy generation, we would hope this can be resolved quickly and at minimal damage to the growing renewables sector.”

Mr Miller said the sale of Proven still left those operating Proven turbines, or planning to instal them, in the dark. There remained a significant number of questions that the union would be attempting to find answers to.

These focus on whether existing warranties and deposits on Proven machines will be honoured, if the Proven P35-2 can be fixed and who will pay for this and whether spares will continue to be available for the turbine.