Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Illinois
Legislation approved by lawmakers but still needing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would create a uniform method for assessing the value of wind turbines and, supporters hope, make Illinois more attractive for future wind energy development. Under the legislation, which Mautino helped negotiate, wind companies could expect to pay around $9,000 per megawatt regardless of the county. The law also sets standards on depreciation and allows only 25 percent of the land where a turbine is located to be assessed for property taxes.
One of the major concerns for Illinois counties looking to lure wind farms to the area is the tax assessment. That problem is now a step closer to being resolved. Thursday, during the prolonged legislative overtime session resulting from the budget impasse, the Illinois Senate voted 53-0 to pass legislation that sets an assessment rate. It still must pass the House and be signed by the governor. If enacted, the tax value would be $9,000 per megawatt for wind farms.
The Illinois Senate today approved legislation to set up a uniform way of determining the property taxes that wind farms will pay. Wind farms, a fledgling industry in Illinois, at present can be assessed in varying ways, depending on where they are located. Different counties have been using differing methodologies. But if the legislation becomes law, a wind farm installed in 2007 would pay a tax of $9,000 per megawatt, no matter where in Illinois it is. That figure would drop slightly each year because of physical depreciation. The legislation, which is designated House Bill 664, sailed through the Senate on a 53-0 vote and next moves to the House of Representatives. To become law, it must pass there and be signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Another part of the bill would phase out an existing 7 percent cap on property assessments in Cook County.
CHICAGO - The governor announced an expansion of the Bureau and Putnam County Enterprise Zone on Monday, a move that should clear some final hurdles for construction of two wind farms. The enterprise zone, which allows income and job creation tax credits to companies that build within it, will be extended by a total of 18.2 acres for Midwest Wind Energy's Big Sky and Crescent Ridge II wind farms.
SPRINGFIELD - Thanks to the duration of this year's record-breaking legislative overtime session, lawmakers are poised to vote on a plan that would establish a uniform method of assessing wind farms for property tax purposes. The proposal is the result of months of talks involving Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, county assessors, local governments, wind-energy companies and others..............Under the legislation, a wind farm installed in 2007 would pay a tax of $9,000 per megawatt. That figure would drop slightly each year because of physical depreciation of the wind devices. If enacted into law, the measure would expire - or "sunset" - after the 2011 tax year. The sunset date is meant to enable lawmakers to gauge how well the law is working.
CHICAGO - The $1 billion electric rate-relief package that Illinois lawmakers approved this week contains not only savings for consumers but also an expected boon to the state's growing wind-farm industry. A provision of the bill that passed the House and Senate on Thursday requires utility companies to get increasing shares of their power supplies from renewable sources, especially wind turbines. The green threshold would start at 2 percent next year and would gradually increase to 25 percent by 2025, according to lawmakers and other proponents familiar with the details. Utilities previously agreed to voluntary goals, but environmental advocates have been pushing for binding requirements with penalties for companies that don't comply.
Simply put the Oak Prairie wind farm is a good example of how developers and the county boards are ripping off the American taxpayers who fund these projects through subsidies. They are simply locating these projects wherever they can find a farmer/landowner who does not care about his neighbors and they think the resistance will be light (low income areas). There is no concern for power output. This is costing us all millions of dollars; many MW's of energy and gives the wind power industry poor performance numbers.
A decision on the site for a $5.5 million wind turbine tower just west of town has been delayed a month, according to Geneseo's mayor. In June, the Geneseo City Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of negotiating a contract with Johnson Controls to build the 2.5 megawatt wind turbine. The council also approved acceptance of a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant for the tower's installation. But a few obstacles came before the council. During the June meeting, one of the people who would live next to the tower said he didn't want to see it from his backyard.
GENESEO - The city could have a new landmark in coming years. Aldermen Tuesday voted to accept a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant to help pay for a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, to be built on the northwest side of Geneseo, outside the city limits.
Mayor Herb Arbuckle and other members of the council expressed concern that land taken up by wind turbines could have detrimental effects on economic growth and development, property values because of obstructed views, noise or light pollution and possible electronic and radio interference that could affect emergency radio signals. "We've got to look 20 to 30 years down the road when we consider this," Arbuckle said. Council member Dick Jones said looking down the road, he can see the turbines harming residential property development west of town.
SPRINGFIELD - State lawmakers probably will end their spring legislative session without voting on a plan that would establish a uniform method of assessing wind farms for property tax purposes, said Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley.
EUREKA -- Wind farm projects in Woodford County may be delayed unless the state passes a law specifying how they will be taxed. County Administrator Greg Jackson said local government doesn't have all the facts needed to continue approving wind farm projects. He recommended the county board delay approval of future wind farms until potential tax revenue is set in stone.
Stalled legislation aimed at assessing wind farm developments in Illinois has concerned Woodford County's administrator so much that tonight he is going to request the County Board delay approving future developments. County Administrator Gregory Jackson said Monday he is concerned about how wind turbines will be assessed for property tax purposes, and warns if no legislation is approved in Springfield, the county will be "at risk" of losing tax dollars some day if the developments become reality.
The Physical Plant is looking to turn blustery days into university dollars. University officials have applied for a $30,000 grant to investigate the feasibility of building a 2.5-megawatt wind generator on campus, said Justin Harrell, a Physical Plant electrical engineer. If awarded the grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the university could begin studying the possibility of building a wind turbine as early as this summer, Harrell said.
House Bill 380 would create a uniform standard for calculating property taxes based on the wind farm's construction costs. We did the math, and the bottom line for Twin Groves: $3.37 million. Renner says, "Four million dollars to most people is a lot of money. Maybe not to Bill Gates, but it certainly is."
An Illinois lawmaker says with a growing number of wind farms in the state, there should be a statewide standard for how they're appraised for taxing purposes. So far, no complaints from Horizon Energy which will eventually operate the largest wind farm in the country in eastern McLean County. Representative Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says having consistent standards is a good idea, but he has a problem with the high tax levels being proposed. Stephen Noe of Midwest Energy, one of the largest developers of wind farms in the Midwest, says the proposals would put Illinois well above other states in wind farm taxation and that would be bad for business.
A legislative effort to figure out how to assess wind farms for property tax purposes is gaining momentum, state Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said recently. At present, Illinois counties can use different methodologies to assess wind farms, a situation that complicates assessments for any wind farm straddling county lines. Wind farms are a relatively new, but growing, industry in Illinois. "There's nothing like it out there," Mautino said. "How do you make a statewide standard for something that didn't exist during your whole 150 years as a county?" For about a month and a half, Mautino has been negotiating with other interested parties - including county assessors and the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois - to try to settle on a methodology for assessing wind farms. The legislation is House Bill 380. The negotiating group has decided that the assessment should be based on the cost of construction. Mautino said his legislation would specify a number - still subject to change - to represent the cost of construction, and a formula then would be applied to come up with a final calculation.
GRAYSLAKE -- Michael Bond thinks it's time for Illinois to harness the power of wind and sun on a grander scale. A bill sponsored by the freshman Democratic state senator from Grayslake would allow farms and small- to mid-size businesses that utilize wind turbines or solar energy to plug into the electricity distribution grid and get credit for the energy they produce. By removing barriers to financial compensation, Bond thinks the bill would encourage pollution-free energy and ease pressure on the electrical grid.
We cannot avoid the fact that some people will suffer from the wind farm projects, but we can ensure that the wind farm companies adequately compensate the damaged individuals for their losses. No reason exists that a farmer who happens to own the specific property on which the company will place its turbines will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from the project, while a simple family with a small home adjacent to the wind farm will lose tens of thousands of dollars of property value from the same project. County officials can and should insist that corporations obtaining permits for wind farms agree to a legal process whereby individuals whose property values are damaged will be compensated for this loss. Many Americans, including the majority of conservative Central Illinoisans, reacted with anger when the Supreme Court ruled that a city could take an individual’s home and give the land to a private developer. But at least in that case, the homeowners were receiving compensation for the taking. The wind farm situation, where no compensation for damaged homeowners is offered, presents a far worse scenario. We need not, and must not, tolerate it.
The Bureau County Board has approved three different multi-million dollar wind projects during the last year, promising economic growth for the small north-central Illinois county. However, problems with assessing the wind farms have halted some of the projects, as well as projects popping up throughout the state, as developers wait for a satisfying compromise in an argument about how to tax the energy-producing enterprises. Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, is attempting to resolve the conflict with legislation he introduced in the Illinois House last month. House Bill 380, seeks to amend the property tax code and set forth procedures for an assessment system based on kilowatt-hours of electricity produced. Taxing bodies would use the same across the state when assessing wind farms.