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Wind farm company asks for more time to find electricity buyer

A company proposing to build a wind farm near Paynesville is asking state regulators for additional time to find a utility company willing to purchase the electricity it will produce.

Paynesville Wind LLC filed a petition with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to extend the date on its permit for its proposed 95-megawatt wind farm.

Geronimo Wind Energy, the Edina-based company behind the project, has signed agreements with landowners in Zion, Paynesville, Spring Hill and Lake Henry townships. Originally, Geronimo had planned to erect the turbines last year and expected them to be generating electricity by now.

A slow market and uncertainty surrounding a wind production tax credit set to expire Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it have made it tough for wind producers to find buyers.

The Paynesville wind farm’s permit required the project to obtain a power purchase agreement and begin construction by Jan. 26, 2013, or inform the commission why that didn’t occur.

Paynesville Wind is requesting to amend the permit conditions to allow until July 2014 to secure a purchase agreement, and until December 2014 for the wind farm to begin operating.

The Public Utilities Commission is accepting public comments on the proposed changes to the site permit until Nov. 9 on its website at www.puc.state.mn.us.