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NaturEner, the owner and operator of three wind farms in Montana, has sued San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), saying that the utility has breached contracts to invest in the 189 MW Rim Rock wind farm. The company reports that the lawsuit also seeks to prevent SDG&E from reneging on its contractual promise to buy the renewable energy generated at the facility.

NaturEner says that SDG&E had agreed to invest approximately $285 million in the wind farm and purchase renewable energy credits as part of its obligation under California law to use renewable power. The company notes that SDG&E has been purchasing renewable energy credits from Rim Rock since the project began operating 16 months ago.

According to NaturEner, SDG&E has now informed the company that it will not honor the deal, claiming that the NaturEner has not satisfied some of the provisions of the contracts, mostly related to the protection of eagles and other birds.

In its lawsuit, NaturEner claims that the utility's actions are motivated by the falling price of renewable power.

"SDG&E is obligated to purchase, at a contractually fixed price, the renewable energy credits generated by Rim Rock over the next 20 years," argues NaturEner in its lawsuit. "Since the purchase agreement was signed, the market price of renewable energy credits has dropped precipitously from the price that SDG&E agreed to pay."

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