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Buffalo Ridge wind rights settlement closer

Disputes between Kenetech Corp and the utility Northern States Power (NSP) over wind rights on Buffalo Ridge may be a major step closer to resolution. If so, that would seem to indicate that Zond Corp is closer to having a contract with NSP for the 100 MW Phase II on Buffalo Ridge, which has been delayed because of Kenetech's legal objections. NSP's Gaye Jaenchen confirms the utility and Kenetech have a "settlement in principle." Although she could not specify what it concerns or when anything firm is likely, wind sources believe the tentative settlement is over who holds the wind rights to the land in question. Kenetech, most recently in the news for the bankruptcy of its wind division, is also protesting NSP's selection of Zond as developer of the huge Phase II in a number of other ways. In January, Kenetech filed suit against the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board's approval of NSP's choice; it has also asked state regulators to investigate NSP's choice; it has filed suit in federal court and is refusing to transfer -- for financial compensation -- its wind rights on Buffalo Ridge to NSP, which as a utility believes it has "eminent domain" on the matter; Kenetech has also threatened to oppose NSP's merger with Wisconsin Energy Corp if the utility pursues its condemnation of its wind rights.

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