Federal judge rules against Nebraska in wind power lawsuit

A federal judge is stopping a Nebraska state agency from ending power purchase agreements with three wind farms in the state. The ruling came against the Nebraska Public Power District.

Laredo Ridge Wind LLC, Broken Bow Wind LLC and Crofton Bluffs Wind LLC filed a lawsuit last year, alleging NPPD was improperly attempting to cancel 20-year power purchase agreements years before they expired according to a report by the Lincoln Star Journal.

All three wind farms are owned at least partially by Global Investment Partners, a New York-based company that invests in infrastructure assets and businesses.

According to the lawsuit, NPPD was trying to use Global Investment Partners’ 2018 acquisition of the wind farms and other assets from NRG Energy, as well as NRG Energy’s 2014 acquisition of the assets from their original owner, as the basis for the contract termination, claiming that they constituted a default under terms of the power purchase agreements.

The wind farms contended in the lawsuit that the acquisitions did not constitute a breach of contract, and even if they did, they would not have had a material effect on NPPD because there was no increase in risk that the new owners would not fulfill their responsibilities.

On the other hand, the lawsuit argued, termination of the power purchase agreements would have had a material effect on the wind farms because it would have put them in default with their creditors, potentially triggering foreclosure actions.

Judge Laurie Smith Camp agreed with the wind farms, saying in her ruling that they “have shown as a matter of law that they did not default on their obligations under the PPAs.”

Because of that, she wrote, “NPPD is permanently enjoined from terminating the PPAs in reliance upon its alleged events of default.”

In a statement, NPPD said its management and legal staff are reviewing the ruling to determine what its next step will be.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star