Minneapolis officials have told the developer of a proposed wood-burning power plant that it hasn't met a key condition for buying city land for the project.
Midtown Eco Energy was told Wednesday that city officials feel it lacks a commitment from a utility to buy the project's electricity. That's required in the option agreement for the land.
The move leaves up in the air the developer's ability to purchase the site at 2850 20th Av. S., now serving as a city garbage-handling station.
Midtown said in a statement that it is disappointed by the delay. "We will continue our discussions with the city, and hope the matter is resolved as quickly and judiciously as possible," the statement said.
The option agreement requires Midtown to meet city conditions by Sunday.
Midtown earlier asked to extend that option deadline by five months, but withdrew the request and asserted that it had met all option conditions.
But the city determined that a letter dated last week from Xcel Energy said only that negotiations were underway to sell the project's power to Xcel, without any tentative commitment. The city also wants a commitment from a higher-level Xcel official.
One thing that's certain is that the council couldn't grant an extension by Sunday. That raises the question of whether there's support on the council for granting a new option.
Opinion in neighborhoods around the controversial project appears to have shifted against the project since it moved from the nonprofit Green Institute to for-profit Kandiyohi Development Partners, the politically connected group behind Midtown. Opposition also developed on environmental grounds.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate's omnibus environmental bill would require the project to hire 35 percent of its workforce from nearby, require advanced diesel emission controls on trucks hauling wood to the burner, and mandate quarterly reporting of plant pollutants to neighborhoods.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438