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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The city of Gainesville’s fight against the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center has ended, leaving the city empty-handed.

GREC, a company that develops and operates clean energy facilities, has been in negotiations with Gainesville, which attempted to buy part of the company.

Gainesville originally put up money to buy a percentage of the company and claims it should have been given the first offer to buy it completely. According to the order that Arbitrator Richard J. Holwell signed, Gainesville Regional Utilities accused that “GREC has effectively sold the Facility without honoring GRU’s right of first offer.”

In an arbitration meeting last week, Holwell ruled to dismiss the city’s claim that would have required GREC to sell the plant to the city.

According to the document, Holwell ruled in favor of GREC because the purchase had to be a single transaction. Local activist Mark Venzke said the results shocked him.

“I’m very disappointed that the arbitrator ruled in favor of GREC,” he said. “[The arbitrator] said the two selling transactions couldn’t be considered … because they were separate transactions. That escapes me.”

GRU would not comment on the issue because litigation between GRU and GREC is still unfinished.

Albert Morales, the chief financial officer for GREC, said the outcome is positive, and he plans to continue working with GRU. A phone conference between GREC and the city is scheduled for Wednesday to attempt to resolve remaining issues.

Contact Hanna Marcus at hmarcus@alligator.org.

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