Just what is the coun­cil pur­pose?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your Views - An­drew Mus­toe Thor­ney Peter­bor­ough

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil seems to be de­ter­mined to go ahead with the fast track devel­op­ment of a So­lar Farm at Amer­ica Farm and other lo­ca­tions to the north of Peter­bor­ough. The first ques­tion that arises from this pro­posal that I have been ask­ing my­self is, why it is that the city coun­cil now sees it­self as an Elec­tric­ity Gen­er­at­ing Com­pany rather than a City Coun­cil? Surely, the coun­cil’s pur­pose should be to pro­vide the ser­vices that are stated on my coun­cil tax bill not be­come the Peter­bor­ough Gen­er­at­ing Board. One must ask the ques­tion if this has any­thing to do with some coun­cil mem­ber’s hav­ing a bias to­wards so­lar power and the let­ting of fu­ture lu­cra­tive con­tracts to op­er­ate and main­tain the sites once built. Also, if the ven­ture should be off­loaded by the coun­cil in the fu­ture, which com­pa­nies would be lin­ing up to buy the fa­cil­i­ties at knock­down prices? Even be­fore plan­ning per­mis­sion has been granted it ap­pears that the con­tract to build all three of the sites has al­ready been let to a com­pany which to my knowl­edge and re­search, has no proven track record of suc­cess­ful de­liv­ery of any re­new­able elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion projects of any thing greater than Kilo­watts ( that which fits on a build­ing) rather than the Very High Volt­age (11Kv) 8 Megawatt ( acres upon acres of prime grade 1 & 2 farm­land) of the Amer­ica Farm pro­posal. How the coun­cil can award a con­tract worth mil­lions of tax payer’s ( our) money to a com­pany that has no demon­stra­ble, tech­ni­cal and con­struc­tion com­pe­tency in the de­sign and con­struc­tion of so­lar and wind farms is be­yond com­pre­hen­sion. For pri­vate con­tracts of this type in the en­ergy in­dus­try it would be a nor­mal re­quire­ment for suc­cess­ful de­liv­ery ( on­time, within bud­get and with an ex­em­plary health, safety & en­vi­ron­men­tal record) for at least 5 com­pa­ra­ble en­ergy projects of with equal or greater tech­ni­cal com­plex­ity and com­mer­cial value. The ap­proach to the So­lar Farm con­tract pro­cure­ment by the city coun­cil seems to me at best com­mer­cially naive and adds un­ac­cept­able fi­nan­cial and safety risks to the project. At worst it in­di­cates some­thing wor­thy of fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, un­less there are safe­guards and guar­an­tees put in place by the coun­cil in or­der to en­sure that all sup­pli­ers, ven­dors and sub- con­trac­tors to the main con­trac­tor are vet­ted to en­sure that no mem­ber of the coun­cil prof­its ei­ther now, or for the life­time of the projects and that any com­pany as­so­ci­ated with the project is tech­ni­cally com­pe­tent to de­liver it. For th­ese rea­sons I be­lieve that there should be a mora­to­rium in the un­seemly and un­due haste to com­plete plan­ning process be­fore le­git­i­mate ques­tions are fully an­swered and there should be a full and in­de­pen­dent au­dit of ev­ery com­mer­cial and tech­ni­cal as­pect of the So­lar and Wind Farm con­tract to en­sure that it has been let in a man­ner that en­sures best com­mer­cial value and low­est risk for all of Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil’s tax pay­ers. I would urge all of the city’s res­i­dents to de­mand of their coun­cil­lor’s, what steps they have taken to en­sure that the city’s money is be­ing spent in a wise and com­pe­tent man­ner given the de­ba­cle over the new city hospi­tal’s fi­nances.

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