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Yorkshire farmers win groundbreaking wind turbine legal battle
Posted by Nick Hill on 13 May 2015
After a lengthy legal battle, Yorkshire farmers, Terry and Gail Beaumont, have received a game-changing compensation pay out for a defective wind turbine.
The married duo decided to take action against the wind turbine’s manufacturer after the fault threatened their life savings by generating not nearly enough power.
This case could potentially be groundbreaking for future compensation claims, which may total millions of pounds from hundreds of other wind turbine owners.
Just weeks before a High Court hearing was scheduled to take place, the Beaumont’s settlement was finalised, thus bringing an end to a long legal battle between the couple, who run a hobby farm in Huddersfield where they breed alpacas, and the Yorkshire-based wind turbine manufacturer Evoco Energy Limited, which went into liquidation last year.
Back in 2010, the couple paid £40k for a 10 kilowatt wind turbine, which Evoco Energy Limited manufactured and was resold by Newgen Renewables Limited.
During the transaction, Newgen Renewables Limited claimed the the Beaumonts would receive a return investment of around £250k, or £12k a year, if they utilized the ‘green’ incentives including the government’s ‘Feed-In Tariffs’ (FITs) scheme, which would allow the couple to sell energy generated by the wind turbine back to the National Grid.
But in early 2011, shortly after its installation, the Beaumonts’ turbine experienced technical problems, which resulted in several visits to the farm by Evoco’s engineers who attempted to apply upgrades and fit replacement parts.
Around a year later in January 2012, the blades of a wind turbine owned by the Beaumonts’ neighbours displaced and became embedded in a dry stone wall. As a result, the manufacturer deemed the products unsafe and the Beaumonts’ wind turbine was one of around 170 which were turned off.
At the time, it had only generated £7k in the six operational months of its 13-month lifespan.
Later that year, both the manufacturer and reseller stopped communicating with the married couple, and in response they started legal proceedings to recover their investment.
In 2014, Evoco went into liquidation after being bombarded with threats of legal action from several other owners of faulty wind turbines.
The Beaumonts’ case was progressed by litigation specialists, Birmingham-based Rubric Lois King Solicitors, against Evoco’s insurers and was settled at the end of March 2015.
Terry Beaumont commented: “My wife and I are thrilled to have reached a settlement at what feels like the eleventh hour. It’s as though a weight has been lifted and, after all the stress and worry about how we would fund our retirement without the promised return on investment from the wind turbine, this is the result we had hoped for.
“The manufacturers warned us – and other wind turbine owners – against taking legal action, as they were adamant it would force them into liquidation. According to them, we would all then be left with ‘expensive garden ornaments’.
“When Evoco did eventually go into liquidation, we felt all hope was lost. However, we had the support of a great legal team which was prepared to take our case to the High Court to fight for our right to compensation and to recoup our losses. We now feel we can move forward with our lives and we can finally put the misery of the last five years behind us.“