The companies that collectively own the two Minwind Energy projects in Luverne, Minn., filed for bankruptcy court protection, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports.
The wind farms’ 11 turbines went online in 2002 and 2004 and are still operational today. Minwind secured long-term deals to sell electricity to Xcel Energy and Alliant Energy, feeding some of its electricity into an energy storage battery built by Xcel near Luverne to be used at times when the wind is not blowing.
In the mid-2000s, direct state subsidies for small wind farms ended in Minnesota. While the Minwind farms remained profitable until 2012, the turbines have required extensive repairs, and Minwind has told federal regulators that the company can no longer afford to maintain them.
There is a potential buyer for the wind farms, but the buyer is hesitant because Minwind has a $1.9 million regulatory liability hanging over its head as a result of not filing certain paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) since 2006. Attorneys for the wind farm are asking that the owners be excused from the liability due to their lack of knowledge about regulatory matters, but federal regulators aren’t buying the argument.
However, by filing for reorganization, Minwind will be able to shed liabilities, and the farm could be sold for the cost of the remaining debt.
Right now, the outcome for the wind farms is uncertain. The investors stand to lose their investment, and the wind farms may have to be shut down, according to the newspaper.
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