August 14, 2015

Federal judge orders trial in Kingfisher wind project suit

By Paul Monies | The Oklahoman | August 14, 2015 |

A federal judge in Oklahoma City has ordered an April trial over nuisance claims against a wind farm under construction in Kingfisher and Canadian counties.

U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti set a bench trial for April 11 against Kingfisher Wind LLC, a unit of Apex Clean Energy Inc. A group of landowners want the turbines to be placed at least two miles from their homes.

Construction already has started on the 298-megawatt wind farm in southern Kingfisher County and northern Canadian County.

The company has said it expects the project to be finished by year’s end.

The landowners filed the lawsuit a year ago, listing concerns about noise, ice shearing off turbine blades, shadow flicker and other complaints. DeGiusti allowed a claim of anticipatory nuisance to progress but dismissed a claim of anticipatory trespass earlier this summer.

“We are ecstatic to have a trial date scheduled in the near future and the opportunity to share our concerns with the court,” said Terra Walker, one of the plaintiffs and a property owner in Okarche. “Apex is taking a big risk in continuing to construct these industrial wind turbines when a ruling could require removal shortly after construction. We have an outpouring of support from our members and local citizens and are anxious for April to get here.”

In court documents, the company denied the claims of non-participating landowners. It also said landowners who have signed leases have a right to use and develop their property without interference from their neighbors.

“Kingfisher Wind is pleased that the court has set the matter for trial and looks forward to the court finally ruling on the merits of the lawsuit,” Apex spokeswoman Dahvi Wilson said in an email.

About the project

About 150 people are working on the construction of the project, which will have 149 turbines. Nearby roads have been upgraded to accommodate construction equipment and turbines are expected to arrive on site in the next few weeks, Apex said.

The wind farm is owned by First Reserve Corp. Apex developed the project and is managing its construction.

About 180 megawatts of electricity from the Kingfisher project will go to Florida’s Gulf Power Co., with the remainder accounted for in a swap arrangement with an undisclosed buyer, officials said.

URL to article: