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Xcel looks to end New Era Wind contracts

RED WING, Minn. -- Xcel Energy could begin pulling out of an agreement to buy power from the New Era Wind Farm as early as Monday, a utility director said.

New Era was given until Sunday to resolve a delay in the production of a 78-megawatt wind farm in Goodhue County that is causing the company to default on an agreement to sell its power, said Jim Alders of Xcel Energy.

The subject of a protracted debate over regulations and environmental impacts, the proposed wind farm in Goodhue County has been a four-year, $15 million headache for the project's various developers.

Peter Mastic, owner of New Era, indicated in an April 17 letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that the company was looking to assign its power purchasing agreement to wind projects operated in other counties in order to fulfill its contracts with Xcel and help recover some of its investment.

But Alders said Xcel decided not to accept New Era's assignment proposals.