CSU’s developer in building a wind farm north of Fort Collins to help power the university will have to fix several “problems” with its project lease, including “outstanding financial obligations,” by the end of next week after CSU held the company in default over the summer.
But Bruce Morley, the CEO of Wind Holding LLC, said last week that the contract it has with the university, which he said “is self-extending for things that are out of our control like the financial crisis,” makes CSU’s deadline obsolete.
“The international financial crisis has caused a delay of the project,” Morley said.
Bill Farland, the vice president for Research, said the university is entertaining the idea of moving on with a new developer because of the lack of progression and disagreed Morley’s assertion that the lease will self-extend.
“I don’t know what he means by self-extending,” Farland said. “If he’s somehow interpreting the lease differently then that’s a discussion among the lawyers.”
Wind Holding was originally leased to perform construction of the project in 2007 when, under the leadership of former CSU President Larry Penley, the university committed to being powered completely by green energy.
Since it took over the project, the company has faced extensive setbacks, inhibiting progression, including a lending industry that is stretched by the recession and numerous logistical problems like insufficient power transmission resources.
Adding to the company’s woes was the recent withdrawal of a German bank that was to be its main financier.
Research regarding possible fixes for the situation is ongoing.
Noticing a lack of advancement, the CSU Research Foundation considered Wind Holding to be in default of its lease agreement in late July. It was at that time that it issued its first ultimatum handing down a 60-day deadline for Wind Holding to fix its problems and comply with the contract.
Last month, CSURF’s governing board voted to give the company an additional 30 days because it is currently advancing in talks to hand over the lease to a new developer.
“We’re aware that Wind Holding, as the lease holder, is making progress with a new developer,” Farland said in a press release September 28. “We are providing them this additional 30 days to finalize that deal, which would allow for a transfer of the lease,”
As to whether or not the lease will be transferred and to whom remains to be seen.
Despite the many difficulties facing the initiative, CSU has pledged to stay committed to the development of clean energy to support itself and head towards carbon neutrality.
“We have said on a number of occasions that the university is still very interested in the wind farm and particularly at the Maxwell Ranch site,” Farland said in a phone interview. “While the landscape has changed on this and were not making a firm commitment to be carbon neutral were gonna do what we can to move down that road.”