The company that operated the 70-turbine Derrybrien wind farm in south Galway has recorded pre-tax losses of €16.7 million due to the ESB decision to shut down the wind farm.
In March of this year the ESB decided to shut down the Derrybrien wind farm on a permanent basis and decommission the renewable energy project after An Bord Pleanála declared the development unauthorised.
Accounts for the ESB-owned operator of the wind farm, Gort Wind Farms Ltd, show that it incurred combined onerous contract provision and impairment charges of €23.4 million as a result of the ESB decision. The accounts show that arising from the shutdown move Gort Wind Farms Ltd incurred a €16.9 million impairment charge and a further €6.56 million onerous contract provision charge. This resulted in pre-tax losses increasing six fold from €2.7 million to €16.7 million for 2021.
The sharp rise in losses for 2021 coincided with company revenues more than tripling last year from €3.79 million to €11.7 million on the back of rising electricity prices.
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In a note with the accounts the directors said that the company ceased operating in March of this year arising from the decision to shut down the wind farm. They said that the decision was made in light of the unauthorised status of the wind farm following An Bord Pleanála’s ruling and in the expectation of planning enforcement proceedings by Galway County Council requiring the cessation of the wind farm.
The note said that the directors “intend to proceed with the orderly wind down of the company”.
The note also added that the directors have a reasonable expectation, with support from ESB. that the company would have adequate financial resources to meet its obligations related to the wind farm’s decommissioning.
The accounts put an updated cost of decommissioning at €9.64 million under the heading of “asset retirement provision”, with €661,000 added during 2021 to bring the total of €9.64 million.