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Impax, Hudson Seek Damages Over Spain Solar Subsidies

Impax Asset Management Group Plc, Hudson Clean Energy Partners and HGCapital are among at least 15 international investors demanding compensation from the Spanish government over retroactive cuts to the country’s solar power subsidies.

The companies have invested more than 4 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in Spanish solar photovoltaic projects and are seeking reparations under the Energy Charter Treaty, the law firm Allen & Overy that’s representing the fund managers said today in an e-mailed statement. They didn’t specify how much damages they’re seeking. Two calls to Spain’s industry ministry today weren’t answered.

The government on Dec. 23 issued a decree that cut subsidies for existing solar power plants, which industry executives and investors say should have been guaranteed for 25 years under a 2007 law. Today’s demand follows the Jan. 12 announcement by the Photovoltaic Business Association lobbying group that it would challenge the cuts in the Supreme Court.

“The changes that Spain has made to the PV sector will cause substantial harm to these investors,” Stephen Jagusch, international arbitration partner at Allen & Overy, said in the statement. “Spain’s actions appear clearly inconsistent with the investor protections afforded by the Energy Charter Treaty, which is why we and the investors believe there is very strong case for compensation.”

The Energy Charter Treaty entered into force in 1998 and binds 51 nations to common rules on energy markets.

London-based Impax and HGCapital and Teaneck, New Jersey-based investor Hudson were joined by other investors in the demands. They include AES Solar Energy Ltd., Ampere Equity Fund, Element Power, KGAL GmbH and Foresight Group LLP, according to today’s statement.

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