Cabinet mulls legal action against UK energy company

Minister of Information Melford Nicholas (File photo)
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By Elesha George

[email protected]

The Cabinet is considering taking legal action against PV Energy Limited to get them to supply the batteries needed to power various solar projects which the company was contracted to complete in 2016.

Cabinet spokesman, Minister Melford Nicholas, said the Cabinet is giving “additional impetus and putting our muscles behind the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to pursue this thing to the end. Even if it means pursuing the matter to the court.”

Nicholas said that PV Energy must either provide the batteries or compensate the government for a reported $4 million already provided to them by the regime.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet invited the general manager, the electricity manager and one other official from the APUA to present their assessment of the costs and the benefits of the three solar plants that have been established on Antigua by that company.

Following the briefing, Cabinet noted that “A lawsuit is being readied against the supplier for non-performance.”

They said the contract with PV Energy to provide battery packs for the storage of consistent electricity had not been fulfilled since the announcement in 2016.

“This is a supply agreement that has not borne the fruit that was intended. The original installation of the solar panels were done in 2016 and other complements to the solar panels would have been the battery pack to have ensured that there could have been a consistency of supply. Clearly, one of the drawback of the solar-provided power is that it is subject to variation based on cloud cover and the availability of sunshine.

“They have under-performed, and even with the continual efforts of the APUA, there seems to be some lag on that supply issue,” the Cabinet spokesman explained.

In 2016, then Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Asot Michael, successfully brokered the deal with Peter Virdee, chairman of the UK-based clean energy company – PV Energy Limited, to provide 10 MWp of solar energy for various projects.

The deal was approved by Cabinet, and shortly after, the company was contracted to construct a 3 MWP sun2live solar plant at the V.C. Bird International Airport Antigua, another PV solar power plant with a total capacity of 4 MWp in Bethesda in Antigua, as well as a 1 MWp solar power plant on Barbuda.

In addition, PV Energy Limited was expected to equip the roofs of more than 50 schools and other public buildings with a total of 2 MWp sun2roof installations.

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