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County to consider turbines - Commission to vote on wind power

West Texas doesn't have the chance to bring in new industry every day.

So when those opportunities arise, people better be ready to take advantage of them, said Michael Dalby, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce president.

Dalby and Tom Green County Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher will ask the Commissioners' Court today to support a resolution extending a tax credit program for wind power production.

Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium, told commissioners earlier this month the county is ripe with wind energy potential. A federal production tax credit is available if a turbine is spinning by the end of 2007, Wortham said. County officials then voted to spend $250 to join the Sweetwater-based group.

The resolution is designed to extend the time period for tax credits.

''What we are trying to do is get ahead of the curve,'' Dalby said. ''It's essential we initiate the process now. We support this industry and want to see it keep growing in West Texas.''

Wind farms benefit a community in a variety of ways, Wortham previously told commissioners.

Landowners receive money for allowing turbines to be built on their land, counties' and school districts' property tax revenue increases, and jobs are created for those who... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
So when those opportunities arise, people better be ready to take advantage of them, said Michael Dalby, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce president.
 
Dalby and Tom Green County Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher will ask the Commissioners' Court today to support a resolution extending a tax credit program for wind power production.
 
Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium, told commissioners earlier this month the county is ripe with wind energy potential. A federal production tax credit is available if a turbine is spinning by the end of 2007, Wortham said. County officials then voted to spend $250 to join the Sweetwater-based group.
 
The resolution is designed to extend the time period for tax credits.
 
''What we are trying to do is get ahead of the curve,'' Dalby said. ''It's essential we initiate the process now. We support this industry and want to see it keep growing in West Texas.''
 
Wind farms benefit a community in a variety of ways, Wortham previously told commissioners.
 
Landowners receive money for allowing turbines to be built on their land, counties' and school districts' property tax revenue increases, and jobs are created for those who work on the farms - roughly one job per 10 turbines.
 
Those jobs pay between $40,000 and $100,000 annually, Wortham said.
 
Two wind projects are being discussed in the area. One is on the Llano school district's land north of San Angelo, and the other is in southern Runnels County. Landowners there have joined forces to create enough property to sustain a wind farm.
 
''This industry could be very important to our economy,'' Dalby said.
 
Commissioners probably will also approve an amendment to a City of San Angelo Development Corp. grant for plant expansion and job creation at Conner Steel, 6738 U.S. Highway 87 North. The plant, which manufacturers steel and fiberglass, initially wanted to buy land to build fiberglass tanks, but later decided to expand at its current facility, making the amendment necessary.
 
Commissioners already approved the initial program, County Judge Mike Brown said.
 
Conner Steel was awarded a $300,000 grant in February 2005 to create 50 jobs, paying between $11.82 and $15.75 per hour.
 
Owner Aubrey Butch Conner said the plant has more than 170 workers. The company is subcontracting with other companies and would have about 200 or more workers if all the work was done at the local plant, he said.
 
''I think we are taking more of the market share, and that is helping with the growth,'' he said.
 
By law, commissioners must approve the amendment because the plant is outside the city limits, said Pat Malloy, vice president of economic development for the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce.
 
He said the Conner expansion and the recent reopening of Hirschfeld Steel's main fabrication plant in San Angelo are welcome news.
 
''It's difficult to get new locations or expansions,'' he said. ''It's really good to see both of these places expand.''
 
If you go
 
What: Tom Green County Commissioners' Court.
 
When: 8:30 a.m. today.
 
Where: Commissioners' Court meeting room, second floor of Edd B. Keyes Building, 113 W. Beauregard Ave.


Source: http://www.sanangelostandar...

MAR 28 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1898-county-to-consider-turbines-commission-to-vote-on-wind-power
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