Thanks to everyone who took part in the alert to Peak Gen, the current owners of W4B Renewable Energy Ltd (W4BRE). At the time we launched the alert, Peak Gen were refusing to discuss their intentions and investments with us or other campaigners. Following the alert their CEO, Mark Draper, sent emails to anyone who had taken part, which he has since verbally admitted contained misleading information, (e.g. they implied they were unaware of planning permission to build a biofuel power station in Portland – which W4BRE had expressly obtained in 2010).
Since then, as a direct result of the email alert, Mr Draper agreed to clarify information and very encouragingly has committed in writing that neither W4BRE, any of the Peak Gen companies,n or any other company of which he is a director or CEO would invest in or profit from electricity produced through biofuels. We will be monitoring closely whether he keeps his promise. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the W4B power stations in Bristol and Portland will not be built – it just means that Peak Gen have committed not to have any involvement.
According to the information given by Mr Draper as well as local information from Bristol and Portland, the situation appears to be as follows:
1) Peak Gen bought W4BRE from the Salisbury-based W4B group of companies, which developed plans for biofuel power stations in Bristol and Portland, because they wanted to acquire non-biofuel interests held by that company. They then sold the biofuel-interests back to the W4B group whilst retaining W4BRE as an entirely separate company with only the non-biofuel interests attached.
2) From the information given to us by Mr Draper and from the company house records, it appears that Peak Gen’s transaction significantly increased W4B Portland’s liquidity– bringing them a good step closer to being able to build a biofuel power station in Portland.
3) W4B Portland has just succeeded in getting the timetable for meeting planning conditions amended so they can begin construction there before their planning permission expires in January 2013. Local campaign group NOPE (www.nope.org.uk) are monitoring the site and will be mobilising as soon as work begins.
4) There are indications that work may be imminent in Bristol, but local campaigners are observing and investigating that situation further.
We will let people know of future opportunities to support the campaigns against the Portland and Bristol palm oil power stations.