Library from Minnesota
A South Korean wind turbine manufacturer recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking $3.3 million plus damages from those behind a$4.8 million wind project in Altura. Unison Co. is alleging 16 counts of fraud, breach of contract, tortious interference and unjust unrichment against 10 companies or people involved in the project.
The suit accuses Juhl Energy Development, Juhl Energy Inc., and Juhl employees Daniel Juhl, John Mitola, and John Brand, along with attorney Bartly Loethen and his wife, Audrey Loethen, and Jeff Bendel, of failing to abide by the terms of the financial agreement that required permission from Unison before financial or ownership transactions took place. Additionally, the suit alleges that the company misrepresented the ownership of the turbine project and failed to make any payments on the turbines.
"Willmar’s experience is not unusual. There are several stories very similar to this where municipal utilities were sold on the benefits of owning and operating their own wind turbines only to learn after the fact that keeping the turbines running can be a nightmare, even with a warranty plan in place.”
In northern Minnesota, an electric utility is proposing a 500 kV, cross-border transmission line that would let it tap Canadian hydropower under a similar arrangement. Minnesota Power says the Great Northern Transmission Line would allow it to balance intermittent power from its North Dakota wind farms with dispatchable power from Manitoba hydro facilities.
The county board held a meeting Tuesday to gauge the public’s concerns with the environmental effects of the proposed transmission line and substation for the wind farm, which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission in mid-October.
"...I regret to have to inform you that National Wind/Trishe Wind Energy has made the difficult decision to terminate the High Country Energy project," wrote National Wind and Trishe Wind Energy President Vivek Mittal. "Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to sign on enough contiguous acres necessary for the planned 150 (megawatt) project or to win the broad community support essential to bringing a wind project to successful commercial operation."
Following a minutes-long public hearing before a large crowd on Oct. 10 in the state capitol the commissioners unanimously voted to revoke New Era's site permit and certificate of need. New Era has faced unprecedented public criticism since the project was first proposed in 2008, ultimately spending more than $15 million in a fruitless attempt to gain its state and local permits to build the wind project between Goodhue and Zumbrota.
Both turbines have the same problem with the high-voltage switch at the base of each tower. ...In mid-September, the utility sent a letter to DeWind requesting $254,354 in warranty payments for three years of lost electrical production due to breakdowns and repairs.
Dan Juhl, a lifelong Minnesotan and founder of Juhl Energy, recalls the project being ill-conceived from the beginning. Despite a Minnesota Department of Commerce report hailing Goodhue County as a prime location for wind farm development without significant transmission build-out, he says the project's "novice" developers gave little thought to how a utility-scale wind farm would affect the fairly populated area.
McNamara said she thinks she and her fellow opponents helped put important issues in the public eye. Now that the Goodhue County project has been defeated, she hopes other wind projects in the state see similar opposition. "Many more of the projects in Minnesota should be under more scrutiny," McNamara said. "There are other [wind] projects in Minnesota that need more scrutiny."
Developers have formally abandoned their plans to build a $180 million wind farm in southeastern Minnesota that drew strong citizen opposition because of the threat it posed to eagles and bats, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. New Era Wind Farm LLC told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in a letter dated Sept. 6 that it "no longer intends to develop a wind energy project in Goodhue County" and asked the commission to close all pending matters related to the project. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had estimated that New Era's wind turbines could kill as many as eight to 15 bald eagles per year in a worst-case scenario. The company's estimate was one eagle annually. Duration: 1 minute 50 seconds
Opposition to the wind farm from citizens groups centered largely on impacts to wildlife, including eagle and bat populations. The PUC rejected New Era's plan to protect the animals, causing a delay in construction.
New Era Wind Farm LLC told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in a letter dated Sept. 6 that it "no longer intends to develop a wind energy project in Goodhue County" and asked the commission to close all pending matters related to the project.
The Sibley County GOP board members thanks the honorable people expressing concern about the proposed Cornish Township wind farm southwest of Winthrop near the golf course. Here are a few things no one ever gets told about the following destructive consequences that may go with a wind farm ...
In this letter to the Minnesota PUC, New Era Wind Farm LLC told the commission that it "no longer intends to develop a wind energy project in Goodhue County" and asked the commission to close all pending matters related to the project.
Local critics of the $180 million wind project, representing opposition groups Goodhue Wind Truth and the Coalition for Sensible Siting, say they spent a January morning in St. Paul detailing their concerns to two FBI investigators. Developers have spent more than $15 million seeking state permits, according to a filing at the PUC, while local opposition has spent six figures in the protracted legal battle.
Despite spending $15 million seeking state permits since 2008, the 78-megawatt New Era wind project appears to finally be dead. That leaves one looming question: What has been learned or changed by this exhaustive permitting process?
The controversy often pitted neighbor against neighbor, but the battle appears near an end. New Era recently missed two deadlines with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to hold permit revocation hearings in October or November. That could put an end to an unprecedented five-year battle that's included five lawsuits. "It's like tearing a scab off in our community."
A troubled wind energy proposal in Goodhue County has missed a deadline imposed by state regulators to make its intentions known, and opponents of the project are preparing to celebrate its defeat. ...The PUC is expected to move to revoke the permit.
The wind project formerly known as AWA Goodhue Wind received this final blow by the Minnesota PUC refusing any further extensions of the permit. The utility giant, XCEL has also canceled the power purchase agreement for the energy. Excerpts of the order are provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.