A Minneapolis federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit against Xcel Energy, filed because the utility canceled a planned $400 million wind farm in North Dakota out of a concern it could harm birds on the endangered species list.
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis on Wednesday, April 3, dismissed the lawsuit brought by enXco Development Corp., which had planned to build the 150-megawatt Merricourt wind farm for Xcel.
Minneapolis-based Xcel canceled the project in 2011 because it said enXco failed to obtain the necessary federal wildlife permits to build near whooping cranes’ and plovers’ habitats.
EnXco sued, accusing Xcel of using the bird issue as leverage to get a better financial deal from the wind developer, and Xcel countersued.
Judy Poferl, CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel company, said Friday that Xcel remains committed to wind energy. The company recently solicited proposals for adding 200 megawatts of wind energy if the price is right.