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A federal judge has dismissed a $103 million lawsuit filed by developer EDF Renewable Energy, formerly named enXco, against Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy Inc. The developer sued Xcel for canceling a power purchase contract for the planned Merricourt wind project in 2011.

According to a StarTribune report, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis sided with Xcel on Thursday, ruling that the utility ended its agreement legally before a March 31, 2011, deadline because EDF had yet to receive a state site permit for the North Dakota wind farm. The permit, a required aspect of the contract, was delayed amid concerns about the project’s potential risk to protected birds, including whooping cranes.

The Merricourt wind project received its site permit in June 2011, but it remains in limbo, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not issued a federal permit allowing the accidental killing of birds.

Following the ruling, an EDF spokesperson said the “brief delay” did not justify Xcel’s choice to terminate the contract and the developer plans to appeal, according to the StarTribune.


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