After reaching a settlement out of court in a 2001 civil suit with FPL Energy, Robert Morrison has now been indicted by the Florida State Attorney General's office and charged with theft of trade secrets, a crime that could land the ex-FPL vice president of wind development in jail for up to five years. "We take the theft of trade secrets very seriously," says FPL's Steve Stengel. "We brought a civil action against Morrison and settled that to our satisfaction." The country's leading wind developer had also "certainly talked to the state's attorney at that time," but Stengel is not sure why the state's criminal charge against Morrison is occurring now. FPL's 2001 suit against Morrison and four other officers who had left FPL to form their own wind development firm claimed the five men formed the competing company on FPL time and with FPL resources long before the walkout (Windpower Monthly, September 2001). The new charge appears to be more specific, claiming that Morrison met with Ian Mays of the British company Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in 2000 and then sent him an FPL wind business plan, saying it was his own. Within six months Morrison and RES had entered into a partnership, the state contends. In the earlier civil suit, RES in its defence documents denied any knowledge of what Morrison was up to. Morrison was unavailable for comment.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol