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Nebraska wind farms sue to enforce contract and keep utility from flying off into the sunset

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Three Nebraska windfarms in a power supply contract with the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) have filed suit to prevent the utility from backing out of the contract.  The wind farms filed a complaint in federal court in Nebraska on Jan. 30, alleging that NPPD expressed its intention to terminate a power purchase agreement, and that doing so would be wrongful.

The complaint explains NPPD’s position that the wind farms materially violated the contract by investing in other businesses and operations.  The plaintiffs disagree that there was a breach, but say that even if there was, NPPD cannot terminate the contract because it knew of the transactions.  The plaintiffs also note that NPPD has eminent domain power.

They argue that by terminating the contract, NPPD knows that the wind farms will likely enter default with creditors.  This could allow NPPD to acquire the rights of the wind farms through a foreclosure sale or eminent domain.  To prevent NPPD from terminating the contract, the parties requested, and were granted, a temporary restraining order until March 1st that requires NPPD to honor the contract.  The case is cited as Laredo Ridge Wind, LLC v. Nebraska Pub. Power Dist., No. 8:19-cv-45 (D. Neb.).

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