The UK electricity system’s so-called transition to renewables hits yet another bump in the road. The dream of guaranteed income was just an expensive illusion.
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One of the country’s largest solar farm owners has entered administration amid the fallout from a scandal that forced an Essex council leader to resign, reports The Guardian.
Administrators at Interpath Advisory have been appointed to Toucan Energy Holdings, which owns a portfolio of 53 solar parks with a combined capacity of 513 megawatts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that Thurrock council in Essex, Toucan’s main creditor, borrowed hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in the solar farm scheme run by globetrotting financier Liam Kavanagh.
Rob Gledhill, who was leader of Thurrock council, resigned in September, with the government appointing a commissioner to manage the Conservative-run authority.
Gledhill stepped down after the council made investments that could cost taxpayers £200m. An assessment by Camdor Global Advisors, which was appointed by the council to review the portfolio, concluded the solar farms were valued at less than was needed for the authority to recoup its money.
Kavanagh’s firms received a reported £655m from Thurrock over four years to buy up the 53 sites.
The figure includes a £138m payment that reportedly never reached the scheme’s management company. Kavanagh has claimed the £138m was “properly recorded” on his company’s balance sheet and the money was not specifically allocated for investment in solar farms.
Kavanagh, who reportedly owns a fleet of supercars, has said the solar farms could not be sold in their entirety to repay council debt.
Full report here.
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