Great Gabbard offshore wind turbine dispute settled

The wrangle saw the energy providers’ joint venture company Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Ltd caught up in a long-running stand-off with Fluor of Texas over the quality of turbine construction at the windfarm off the Suffolk coast.

GGOWL had complained about the standard of build relating to 52 upper and 35 lower foundations at the 140-turbine array, while Fluor had sought compensation for schedule and cost impacts arising from delays, disruption and productivity issues it attributed to its client and other third parties.

The situation was taken to an arbitration panel last year which found against Fluor. At that time, Fluor warned shareholders it expected to be hit with a pre-tax charge of $400 million as a result of the arbitration panel’s decision.

However, negotiations have since continued and both parties yesterday said the dispute had now been resolved.
No financial information relating to the final resolution has been disclosed publicly.

In a statement to the markets yesterday, SSE said GGOWL was now confident about the long-term structural integrity of the disputed wind turbine foundations at the 504MW capacity windfarm.

“The agreement between GGOWL and Fluor is a positive development, bringing to an end the contractual dispute between the two parties,” GGOWL general manager Iwan Tukalo said.

“It is also encouraging that the windfarm has performed well since it was energised and our focus remains on ensuring it is a safe, efficient asset that makes a significant contribution to achieving the UK’s targets for renewable energy.”

All 140 turbines at the array have been operational since September, and in the six months to March the windfarm managed to generate electricity for 87% of the time. It is forecast that figure will rise to in excess of 90% in this financial year.

Fluor chairman and chief executive officer David Seaton said the resolution of the dispute brought an end to Fluor’s involvement with the project, adding that there was no “material financial impact” to the company as a result of the settlement.

Mr Seaton said: “Fluor designed and built a safe, fit-for-purpose facility, and we are pleased that the operating windfarm is meeting the owner’s operating expectations.”

The Obama administration is perpetuating a pernicious legal double standard with regard to federal wildlife laws. It prosecutes industries that produce “dirty” energy and exempts those that claim to produce “clean” energy. Furthermore, it’s giving the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card so that if it kills some of our most-endangered species, such as the California condor, it will not face prosecution.

The wind industry is further expanding its operations onto public land in both California and Wyoming. And the American Wind Energy Association has recently said that its main goal is to obtain a multi-year extension of the production tax credit, the lucrative subsidy that was extended for one year back in January. In other words, despite some two decades of subsidies, the wind lobby claims it still needs public money to be viable.

Thus, the wind industry wants to use more public land — and of course, more public money — so that it can continue killing the public’s wildlife with impunity. But since the wind industry can claim that it is doing something — no matter how insignificant — with regard to carbon dioxide emissions, the Obama administration is willing to go along, and even help the industry hide the extent of its bird kills.

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