November 3, 2012

Fagen declared owner of wind farm near Blue Earth

DAVID SHAFFER Star Tribune | November 2, 2012 |

A federal judge declared that the Minnesota construction firm is in control of the nearly completed project after the original owner agreed to stop contesting ownership.

The dispute over who owns a nearly completed southwest Minnesota wind farm has been settled.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis ruled Friday that Fagen Inc., the Granite Falls, Minn., contractor, is the sole owner of the Big Blue Wind Farm that the company is building near Blue Earth, Minn. Davis issued the written order after Fagen and the original developer of the project, Exergy Development Group of Idaho, agreed to stop legal squabbling over ownership. Exergy conceded that Fagen is now solely in charge.

Fagen went to court last month asserting its ownership under a February agreement with Exergy, after the Boise, Idaho-based company couldn’t repay millions that the contractor advanced to help finance the project. Fagen has said it has invested more than $25 million. The farm’s 18 turbines would generate enough power for 20,000 homes. But the project must be generating electricity for its contracted buyer, Xcel Energy Inc., by Dec. 31 or it loses a $22 million federal wind power subsidy, according to court papers.

In a statement, Exergy said the agreement establishes a process to litigate the dispute without jeopardizing the project. Exergy said it still can seek damages from Fagen for wrongful assertion of ownership and for money spent developing Big Blue. Fagen did not return a call seeking comment.

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