A few points to make about this statement, which appears on the Northern Ireland Executive website, in relation to the final report of the Review of the Wind Energy For Rural Businesses project (WERB) – one of number of projects funded under the EU programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity, which ran from 2001 – 2006. The report recommends “that DARD should consider making an offer of an ex-gratia payment to cover some of the costs incurred by each of the 11 applicants who, under this scheme, purchased Powerbreeze turbines.” There’s no ministerial comment, just a quote from the department’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Malcolm McKibbin who, according to the notes, requested the review. The actual report, which has been presented to the Assembly’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, is elsewhere. Direct link to pdf file here. As to the question, ‘What went wrong?’ Just about everything.. But of particular interest is what happened during the tendering process..
Adman Ltd did not meet the tender eligibility criteria and should have been disqualified. Scores should have reflected the actual status of EETS Wind Ltd. This should have been recognised by all or any of DARD, WREAN, RBT and the applicant through control and monitoring systems.
DARD applied standard BSP procedures in the assessment of the WREAN application.
The project application met the policy objectives of BSP
The project was complex because it involved emerging technology and because of the number of organisations and people involved. DARD and WREAN should have taken greater steps to manage the risks outlined in the EA.
There were obvious pressures under the N+2 Rule, which the Review Team believes led to decisions being taken in haste.
The tendering process and application of the Scoring Selection Criteria became complicated and tendering was developed in two distinct stages. This led to confusion in respect of roles and responsibilities. Consequently, the Review Team concludes that tendering procedures were not strictly adhered to and the project applicants did not have ownership of the process.
The project applicants placed too much reliance on DARD and its agents. Many of the applicants made the basic error of not reading and comprehending the Letter Of Offer and signing documents such as the On Site Inspection Report without paying due regard to their significance.
The imported Powerbreeze turbines were faulty on leaving the premises of Qingdao Anhua New Energy Development Co Ltd so regardless of the systems and processes in place it was inevitable that problems would arise. These were exacerbated by the opportunistic and indifferent approach adopted by Adman Ltd and EETS Wind Ltd.
The systems introduced for the installation and commissioning of the Powerbreeze turbines were inconsistent and poor when compared with that adopted by Renewable Energy Services. In conclusion the Review Team believes DARD should intervene to try and ensure the appropriate closure of this project.
Adman should have been disqualified from the tendering process by WREAN and the applicants.
Reliance was mistakenly placed on the role of EETS Ltd whereas EETS advise that it as actually EETS Wind Ltd who imported the turbines into the UK and supplied them to Adman.