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Xcel Energy scrubs plans for ND wind project

BISMARCK (AP) -- Xcel Energy Inc. says it has abandoned plans to build a $400 million wind farm in southeast North Dakota.

The Minneapolis utility says in a statement that potential harm to endangered or threatened birds played a "major factor" in scrapping the so-called Merricourt Wind Project in Dickey and McIntosh counties.

The company says it cancelled its agreement Friday with enXco Development Corp. due to "uncertainty in the cost and timing in mitigating" the impact to the whooping crane and the piping plover. The utility had said that it hoped to have the 150-megawatt project built by the end of 2011.

The utility is attempting to meet a Minnesota standard of generating 30 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.