Minnesota wind energy pioneer Greg Jaunich was sentenced last month to 21 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release on one count of mail fraud in connection with overcharging Xcel Energy and the state of Minnesota by roughly $400,000 for electricity from a wind project in the southwest part of the state during 2003-2004. The government charged that, as manager of Northern Alternative Energy, Jaunich told employees to bill Xcel even though he knew at least one of the turbines was not producing power. Jaunich, 47, pleaded guilty to the mail fraud charge, while related bank fraud charges were dropped. US district judge Paul Magnuson also fined Jaunich $5000. Jaunich founded Northern Alternative Energy in 1992 and served as treasurer for the American Wind Energy Association in 2002. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he would like to continue in the wind industry when his sentence is completed.
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