Wind Farm Project Has Yet to be Approved - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Wind Farm Project Has Yet to be Approved

Archer County residents have been waiting years to find out whether or not the county will follow through with a proposed wind farm.

Tuesday, Archer County Commissioners met to vote on it, but instead they tabled the item to be discussed next Monday.

Currently they are in talks with BP Energy about the tax abatement.  BP wants a 100 percent abatement which means they don't want to pay any taxes, and in return, every year they would pay the county money.  Still commissioners aren't sure if it's worth it.

In 2007 BP approached commissioners about creating a wind farm that would expand through Archer and Young Counties.  It would create a 125 megawatt farm that would account for 83 total turbines, but things didn't go the way BP had planned.

"All of a sudden it took a sudden turn, the cost of natural gas went down and therefore
the cost of producing electricity went down so BP stepped away from the project," said Archer County Judge Gary Beesinger.

And now they want back in, producing electricity is much higher today, therefore it's beneficial for BP to create turbines, and not only that, but government tax credits make it more affordable.

"Originally in the first go around we had agreed to a payment in lieu of taxes.  They
were going to make an annual payment to Archer County and that total would have been $2 million for the 10 year period of time," said Beesinger.

Three years later BP has reduced that income to about a million, it's still a lot of money, but it's money that will benefit the county and residents, especially those like Chuck Calvin who are leasing land to the company.

"I think it's probably a good way to bring in revenue for myself, or my neighbor, or
the county," said Calvin.

Judge Beesinger says it's a great way to keep county taxes down, but for now it's still a project that has yet to take turn.

BP is leasing land from 40 landowners in Archer and Young Counties and by the end of the month officials want to know whether or not they will enter into an agreement.

BP is also in the process of pursuing additional land.  It's possible they would put in place 100 turbines instead of their calculated 83.

Crystal Hall News Channel 6.

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