Tenaska, a privately owned energy company based in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it is considering construction of what would be Nodaway County’s second wind farm.
Independent power producers like Tenaska, also referred to as non-utility generators, are in the business of generating electric power for sale to utilities and end users.
According to a company release, Tenaska currently owns and oversees operations at nine gas-fueled and alternative energy plants in five states, facilities rated to produce a total of 7,000 megawatts of power.
The proposed 200- to 300-megawatt Nodaway County project, slated for construction in 2019, would consist of between 70 and 150 turbines generating 2 to 3.5 megawatts of electricity each.
Operational since early 2008, the county’s sole existing wind farm, developed by Wind Capital Group, consists of 24 turbines generating 50 megawatts of power near the small towns of Conception, Conception Junction and Clyde.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a 2-megawatt turbine produces enough electricity to power approximately 400 single-family homes. Therefore, a 110-unit wind farm rated at 2 megawatts per turbine would generate enough power to keep the lights on in 44,000 residences.
Current plans call for turbine installations across north central Nodaway County between Maryville and the Iowa line. Dick Baldwin, Hopkins, is listed as the company’s land acquisition representative in this area.
Tenaska has just begun the process of contacting landowners with regard to “initial cooperation agreements that would allow us to continue to evaluate the feasibility of this project.”
The release also states that the company has acquired several years’ worth of wind data for the region and sees “significant potential for a project in this area.”
Should the project move forward, Tenaska estimates its investment at between $200 and $300 million. The company anticipates creating roughly 180 construction jobs and 15 permanent operations jobs once the wind farm begins production.
The operational lifespan for commercial power production is estimated at 30 years.
In its release, Tenaska emphasized the positive impact the company has on local government revenue streams, and claimed that its installations have paid more than $13.5 million in taxes to local governments and school districts in five states.
The company also says it sponsors a college scholarship program in communities where it maintains operations, and that the initiative has awarded more than $600,000.
In Nodaway County, Tenaska’s real estate property tax rate will be affected by its status under the county’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone ordinance, which was adopted in 2011 in hopes of attracting additional wind farm enterprises.
Essentially the EEZ provides qualified companies with a partial tax abatement on new real property over a period of 10 years. Another function of the zone is to standardize the tax rate for approved industries across the county, which is made up of of a patchwork of townships, school districts, and fire protection districts, each with its own levy.
County Assessor Rex Wallace said Friday that Nodaway’s EEZ board has yet to determine Tenaska’s tax rate, and that the guidelines are extremely complicated and require further interpretation.
However, Wallace said his best guess at Tenaska’s real estate property tax rate, should the project be completed, is around $5,900 per megawatt.
That comes to approximately $12,000 a year for a 2-megawatt turbine, or $1.3 million for a 110-turbine wind farm.