SDG&E sued by Montana wind farm operator

Tymien wind power farm Poland

NaturEner, which owns and operates three wind farms in Montana accounting for about 62 percent of wind power generation in the State, sued San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) on Friday for breaching contracts to invest in the Rim Rock wind farm.

The lawsuit also states that NaturEner seeks to prevent SDG&E from purchasing the renewable energy generated at the facility.

According to the contract SDG&E, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, agreed to invest approximately $285 million in the 189 MW Rim Rock wind farm and to purchase renewable energy credits; meeting California law to use renewable power. SDG&E has been purchasing renewable energy credits from Rim Rock since the project began operating 16 months ago.

However, SDG&E notified the wind farm operators that the contract would not be honored, claiming that NaturEner had not complied with some provisions of the contracts, including the protection of eagles and other birds.  NaturEner believes that the utility is experiencing buyer's remorse since the cost of renewable energy is on the decline.

"SDG&E is obligated to purchase, at a contractually fixed price, the renewable energy credits generated by Rim Rock over the next 20 years.  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," the company argues in the lawsuit. 

NaturEner's lawsuit was filed in Montana District Court in Toole County.

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