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July 30, 2018

Liens filed as contractors for Amherst Island wind turbine project owed millions for unpaid work


Several sub-contractors who built the Amherst Island wind turbine project have filed liens in a Napanee court looking to be paid millions of dollars owed for unpaid work.

The Whig-Standard spoke to two sub-contractors who allege the main contractor on the project, Pennecon Heavy Civil, hasn’t paid them since March.

The Amherst Island wind project was built by Windlectric Inc., a subsidiary of Oakville-based Algonquin Power.

Pennecon, with head offices in Newfoundland and Labrador, was hired as the general contractor or construction manager for the project.

The bulk of the construction on the island took place between September of last year and early June.

The 26-turbine, 75 megawatt Amherst Island wind project was more than a decade in the making.

The project was controversial from the start, with opposition from island residents based on fears of excessive noise from the turbines and the impact of construction and operation of the turbines on the wildlife, including birds, bats and turtles.

The project was finished ahead of schedule and is now producing power.

Rob Scoffield, the managing director of QCE Canada, a wind turbine construction company that has built turbine projects across Canada and in New York State, claims his company is owed about $10 million for work over the last year on the project “Basically this whole thing stinks,” he said in an interview.

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During the construction, Scoffield said, Algonquin Power and Pennecon had fallen behind on the project and have had cost overruns of about $90 million.

It’s a $400- to $450-million project now, he said.

“So Algonquin power was very ecstatic that the project actually got done ahead of schedule and that it got done period because they didn’t think it would ever get done,” Scoffield said.

“Long story short, we’ve all persevered since last September to put this project up, all through the winter and we put the project up 10 days in advance of when they needed to be online for the utility.”

In an email to the Whig-Standard, Sarah Puddister, corporate communications manager for Pennecon, said Pennecon hasen’t been paid in months by Algonquin Power either.

“Although our team delivered the terms of the contract and met the commercial online delivery date, neither Pennecon nor consequently our subcontractors, have been paid since April.” She wrote. “The Project Administrator, Algonquin Power, advised us in mid-June, after Pennecon and its subcontractors successfully completed the project, of their decision to review project costs before releasing payment.”

The Whig-Standard tried numerous times to contact officials at Algonquin Power over a two-day period, but never got a response.

Puddister said the issue should be resolved soon.

Keep reading in the Whig-Standard


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