RES Americas, BP Wind Energy To Battle In Court Over Finished Pennsylvania Project

Joseph Bebon, Tuesday 02 July 2013 - 00:00:00



RES Americas has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against BP Wind Energy and Mehoopany Wind Energy LLC (MWE), a joint venture between BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power.

RES claims the defendants owe the contractor over $55 million in additional expenses accrued in a rush to get the Mehoopany Wind Farm live on Dec. 31, 2012 - just in time to qualify for the wind energy production tax credit (PTC). MWE owns the 141 MW wind farm, located in Wyoming County, Pa., and BP is the operator. The project features 88 GE 1.6 MW wind turbines spread across a 9,000-acre site.

Work on the project was originally slated to begin in October 2011 and end by October 2012. However, RES says the project was delayed from the onset and full construction did not start until February 2012, followed by a series of holdups along the way to completion.

Doug Kilday, the Texas-based lawyer representing RES, says the contractor ultimately documented 272 days of delays and had to squeeze the project from a 12-month process into a five-and-a-half-month period to meet the PTC deadline.

“Each subsequent delay, whether it be a week, two weeks or two days, had a substantial impact because of the initial four-month delay,” Kilday tells NAW, adding that RES believes BP and MWE were to blame for a slew of issues.

For example, RES claims BP and MWE did not provide the contractor with proper permits in the necessary time. In addition, Kilday says RES was hindered by road restrictions and a lack of site access, as well as “unforeseen subsurface conditions” that were not included in MWE’s geotechnical report.

These “crippling delays” and the subsequent time crunch meant that RES had to bring in additional subcontractors and have workers work long hours, holidays and weekends, Kilday adds. RES says the additional costs added up and believes they are the responsibility of BP and MWE.

When reached for inclusion in this story, BP Wind Energy respectfully declined, saying, “The company does not comment on pending litigation." Sempra, which has a half-stake in MWE, did not respond to requests.

However, according to the companies’ response to the lawsuit, as cited in a Sunday Dispatch report, MWE and BP Wind Energy maintain that the extra costs and delays are the result of “RES’ own self-inflicted performance issues.”

In addition, BP Wind Energy and MWE have filed a lawsuit of their own against RES Americas in Texas. The companies are seeking up to $32 million in damages.



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