SCOTTISH WIND turbine manufacturer Proven Energy was this week teetering on the brink of financial collapse, following the emergence of “acute” technical problems with its flagship P35-2 farmscale machine.

In a terse statement posted on its website, the company announced: “Proven Energy has become aware of a potential manufacturing defect in its Proven 35-2 wind turbine (the Proven 7 and Proven 11 are unaffected). We are investigating this, however, our work to date has now shown that a significant number of shafts may be affected across multiple manufacturing batches.

“With that in mind we are now advising all Proven 35-2 owners to place their wind turbines on brake as soon as it is safe to do so. Under no circumstances should you apply the parking brake whilst the wind turbine is rotating at normal operating speeds since this will place extra stress on the shaft. We will ensure that you receive regular updates in the interim period. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

Earlier this week, details of Proven’s problems first emerged via a statement from the renewable energy investment fund managers Low Carbon Accelerator Ltd.

That fund has more than £11 million invested in Proven, and its shares took a big hit on London trading markets this week – collapsing 43% to 14.5p – when the LCA board announced that it expected to make “a substantial or total write down” of that investment because Proven had halted sales of the P35-2 turbine after finding an “acute technical defect” in three machines.

LCA commented that as a result of the defect, the sales suspension and “the current difficult planning environment”, Proven was now incurring losses that it could not sustain without a further injection of cash.

Commenting on the situation, a spokesman for NFU Scotland said: “We are urging all those who have installed Proven 35-2 wind turbines to heed the manufacturer’s advice and place their wind turbines on brake as soon as it is safe to do so.

“The 35-2 is a popular model and we understand that as many as 500 of these are in use across the country. We have been unable to contact Proven Energy directly to discuss the problem but note the stock market’s concerns over the impact that this announcement may have on the company going forward.

“This is clearly an evolving situation that will worry many of those who have installed or have been planning to install Proven Energy turbines. We have spoken to one major supplier of Proven equipment and he hopes to be in a position to write to all his customers next week clarifying the situation.”