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Multi-million claim after delays to energy facility

A contractor has been ordered to repay £4.5m to a client over a stalled biomass scheme in Wales.

Wrexham biomass

Wrexham biomass

Equitix ESA CHP went to court claiming more than £11m from Bester Generacion, which had been engaged to design and build a biomass-fired energy plant in Wrexham (pictured), which had also been backed by the then Green Investment Bank (see box).

Because progress on the project was slow, Equitix sought an adjudication in February 2017 that Bester was not entitled to more time. A ruling in Equitix’s favour was delivered in June, effectively blaming the defendant for the delays.

On 17 July, the claimant terminated the contract and next month claimed £11,592,734, saying Bester had not delivered.

This amount comprised around £8m previously paid to the defendant and about £3m in other claims.

In November, the same adjudicator told Bester to pay £9,805,032, with a further sum of £4,948 per day in interest.

These findings were challenged in the High Court in January and, in his ruling now published, Mr Justice Coulson ordered Bester to pay Equitix £4.5m immediately and to lodge £1m with the court until possible later hearings, saying this achieved “broad justice”.

The judge was critical of the claimant for providing “deliberately limited financial information” and there would be a stay of execution on a remaining £4.5m.

Backing from Green Investment Bank - May 2016

Construction work will soon start on a new green energy facility in Wrexham Industrial Estate, north Wales, after developers secured a commitment of £25m from UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Equitix.

The 5.4MW biomass plant, the second to be developed by Liverpool-based Green Plan Energy, will generate around 34GWh a year of green electricity. It will be combined heat and power (CHP) ‘ready’, meaning it has the potential to provide heat to neighbouring manufacturing businesses.

The Equitix-managed fund Energy Savings Investment (ESI), in which the GIB is a cornerstone investor, is investing £12.25m in the project. An additional £12.75m of private capital has been mobilised from the parallel Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund.

Bester Generaciόn UK, part of the Bester Group, has been appointed engineering, procurement and construction contractor and has been awarded a long-term operations and maintenance contract.

Fuel will be supplied by Hadfield Wood Recyclers with biomass specialist PBS Energo supplying the plant’s biomass boiler, flue gas cleaning system and electricity generation contract.


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