Library filed under Legal from Minnesota
In a rare move, a state judge has recommended that a proposed southern Minnesota wind farm — Freeborn Wind — be denied an operating permit, saying the project has failed to show it can meet state noise standards. Meanwhile, the owner of Bent Tree Wind Farm, which is also in Freeborn County, recently agreed to buy the homes of two families who have long complained about excessive noise.
Judge Carmen Means ...denied the motion for summary judgment in an oral ruling issued with little explanation indicating she did not have enough information to make a ruling and that the decision will have to be made after hearing all the evidence.
The appeals panel agreed that practical effect of the state's prohibitions would have prevented out-of-state utilities from adding coal-power capacity to the regional power grid without approval from Minnesota regulators. Minnesota can't do that without approval from Congress.
Nygard was sentenced to six months for not complying with a previous court order to remove the base. Over the weekend, his family finished the court-ordered job, hoping to spring their patriarch. Even though they took it down, the family insists there was nothing wrong with putting the towering, 750-pound turbine, which was fixed atop a galvanized pole, so close to the neighbors' home. “That was the best place to harvest the wind on our property. We don't have a very big property. I don't know where else we could have put it.”
The power lines servicing a rural Pine River farm must be replaced by Brainerd electrical cooperative Crow Wing Power, a Cass County judge ordered earlier this month. Judge Jana M. Austad's order is the latest action in ongoing litigation between dairy farmers Randy and Peggy Norman and the power company, which last October was ordered to pay $6.3 million for negligence in its response to the farmers' concerns about stray voltage impacts on their property.
Nygaard has repeatedly been ordered to remove the turbine by courts. He took it down once, placing it like a huge lawn ornament on his small front yard. Later he put the turbine back up on its pole in the back yard, where it remains.
Minwind has told federal regulators that the turbines have needed extensive repairs, including main bearings, and the company no longer can afford the upkeep. To make things worse, Minwind got into a jam with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for not filing certain paperwork since 2006. The result is a $1.9 million regulatory liability that has left a potential buyer uneasy about signing a deal to acquire the wind farms.
Crow Wing Power of Brainerd was negligent in its response to a northern Minnesota farm family’s concerns about stray voltage on their property, a Cass County jury ruled Friday. The jury awarded Randy and Peggy Norman $4.8 million in economic loss damages and $1.5 million in nuisance damages for a total of $6.3 million, the largest amount ever awarded in a stray voltage case in state history, according to the Normans’ attorneys.
The city, in its brief filed with the court, argued that nothing in the state law precludes a local municipality from “establishing requirements for the siting and construction of SWECS.” They have also argued that the turbines were put up without proper permits and are a safety threat.
The final court order says Nygard and his wife must appear in court Wednesday to start a six-month jail sentence, unless the turbine is removed by then.
The backers of a southeastern Minnesota wind farm touted as a model for other communities face a $3.3-million lawsuit in U.S. District Court filed by the South Korean company that manufactured and financed the turbines for the Winona County Wind project.
At issue is a $4.8 million wind project built near Altura in Winona County. JEDI developed the project in 2010 using equipment purchased from Unison, which filed a 16-count lawsuit last month alleging fraud, breach of contract, tortious interference and unjust unrichment.
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.
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.