Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Texas
The Obama administration should bar a $1.5 billion wind-farm project in Texas from receiving U.S. government stimulus funds because most of the power turbines would be made in China, Senator Charles Schumer said. "The idea that stimulus funds would be used to create jobs overseas is quite troubling," Schumer, a New York Democrat, wrote in a draft of a letter he said yesterday he would send to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. ...Schumer said he would pursue legislation if necessary to prevent stimulus funds from being used for the Texas project.
News that $450 million in federal stimulus money might go toward installing Chinese-made wind turbines in Texas prompted criticism on Thursday, with Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, calling on the Obama administration to deny federal financing. According to partners in the deal, the proposed 600-megawatt wind farm, announced late last week, would be built on 36,000 acres in West Texas using 240 wind turbines manufactured by A-Power Energy Generation Systems of Shenyang, China.
A Democratic senator is calling on the Obama administration to reject an expected request for federal economic stimulus money as part of a $1.5 billion West Texas wind energy project because he says it will generate Chinese, not American, jobs. The U.S.-China venture, announced last week, would erect 240 huge Chinese-manufactured wind turbines on 36,000 acres in West Texas, with the Export-Import Bank of China committed to handle most of the financing.
Investment bankers are all aflutter with the onset of stimulus money for renewable energy projects according to the August 31 Wall Street Journal. After a long lag, numerous firms have again invested upwards of $100 million in wind farms. Investors are attracted by the quick returns made possible by the hefty federal grants and tax benefits. The growing subsidies for wind power mask wind's high cost and inherent limitations, but only for so long. ...Although appealing to many, wind power is an extremely expensive, inefficient, and unreliable source of electricity, incapable of providing base load power. Wind's intermittency, variability, line loss, necessary back-up generation, transmission needs, and dispatch complexity limit the amount of electricity wind can secure.
Members from DKR Wind, the company looking to build a windmill farm near Oilton, approached Commissioner's Court on how much tax abatement they are requesting. They are looking for a $280 thousand abatement over a ten year period.
Young County commissioners moved a step closer to reaching a tax abatement agreement with Gamesa Energy on Monday by creating a tax reinvestment zone. The zone is a necessary step toward an abatement agreement. Games has announced it plans to build a wind farm that would be mostly in Jack County with 12 turbines extending into Young County.
The renewable energy source is all the rage in Texas, growing by 60 percent last year alone. It's a fave of the federal government ...According to one federal estimate, wind generators get more than $23 in federal incentives for every megawatt they produce. That compares with 25 cents for natural gas, 44 cents for coal and $1.59 for nuclear power. ...Texas is also working on another state sweetener for wind - almost $5 billion of new transmission lines.
Property values are soaring in this West Texas community, and the reason is obvious. Looming on the northern horizon, hundreds of new wind turbines dot the once-barren hills. Ordinarily, much of the tax dollars generated by the turbines would go to the state's "Robin Hood" school finance plan, which requires property-rich districts to share their wealth with those less fortunate. But that won't happen in Sterling City, at least not if school officials have their way.
Young County commissioners formally approved a tax abatement agreement Monday with British Petroleum ...After months of negotiation, the final agreement guarantees between $83,333 and $350,000 a year in lieu of property taxes. The proposal also guarantees that if the farm is built, Young County will receive a minimum of 50 megawatts. If more turbines are placed in the county, the money paid will rise incrementally.
County commissioners paved the way Monday toward granting a tax abatement to wind power giant Duke Energy. ..."I didn't feel like it's a benefit to the citizens of Ector County," he said. Simmons said wind turbines deteriorate quickly, and chances are they won't be worth much once a 10-year abatement is up, leaving little to nothing to collect property tax off of. He also said there's no guarantee permanent jobs would be created in Ector County since the majority of the Notrees Windpower Project is located in Winkler County.
A proposed wind farm in northern Young County took a major step toward reality Monday when commissioners voted to approve a tax abatement plan for British Petroleum. After more than two hours of negotiations between BP and representatives from Young and Archer counties, Young County legal counsel Alan Carmichael announced an agreement had been reached.
A deflating economy has taken the wind out of a massive Panhandle alternative energy project. Tight lending stalled a $2 billion wind farm project headed by billionaire oilman and alternative power proponent T. Boone Pickens. Pickens' BP Capital delayed work on a state permit to build 170 miles of transmission lines carrying enough wind energy to power 300,000 homes.
A wind tower manufacturing company, facing construction costs that were significantly higher than expected, received a shot in the arm Tuesday. Members of the Development Corporation of Abilene voted to approve Tower Tech Systems Inc.'s request for additional money -- up to $700,000 more -- to help cover nearly $7 million in unanticipated building costs.
Higher than expected construction costs has a wind-tower manufacturing company asking for more money -- $700,000, to be exact -- from the city of Abilene's economic development arm. According to Development Corporation of Abilene records, Tower Tech Systems, Inc., now estimate construction and equipment costs will reach $27 million, or about $7 million more as was estimated in DCOA's original assistance package.
Young County commissioners will continue to discuss a potential wind farm in northern Young County during a regular meeting of commissioners court at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the county courthouse.
[A] BP representative explained that the project could be phased in with 60 windmills possibly becoming available next year, and the remaining 40 coming some time later. Of the 60 windmills, David Gonzalez said, the majority are planned in Archer County.The change in the proposal was not met with enthusiasm by commissioners. ..."The prospect of an abatement has been based on a 250 megawatt buildout," Precinct 2 Commissioner John C. Bullock said. "The prospect of a phase in was not mentioned. If we had know that, it likely would have been different."
A tax credit driving the wind industry seemed to be on its way when the Senate approved it overwhelmingly this week, but a measure to extend it hit a speed bump Thursday in the House. The fate of the wind energy production tax credit expiring Dec. 31 is uncertain as lawmakers wrangle over two versions of the latest bill including an extension. An industry advocate found lawmakers' arguments over paying for the legislation absurd in light of billions spent to shore up crumbling Wall Street titans and a $700 billion proposal to stave off economic collapse.
Wind power and other renewables have their place in the energy mix. But since the federal subsidies for wind farms are so large, it's unclear Texas needs to provide additional incentives. These funds could be better used to raise teacher salaries and otherwise upgrade the quality of public education across the state. Removing or reducing the state incentives for wind generators will not by itself solve the education crisis in Texas, but it would be a step in the right direction.
Wind turbines are generating more than electricity in Coke County. They're also producing significantly more tax dollars for the Robert Lee Independent School District. And that's the problem. Under the state's "Robin Hood" school funding formula that takes from more affluent and gives to less affluent districts, Robert Lee ISD could end up benefiting little from the cash windfall. ...Under the present system, the state "recaptures" funds from property-wealthy districts and uses them to assist with financing public education in school districts deemed property poor.
When Young County commissioners began discussing details of the abatement with special counsel Alan Carmichael last week, the majority seemed very interested in finding a way to maximize the amount of money Young County stands to bring in if the farm is built. While that makes perfect sense up front, it could prove perilous to the entire project. With several other counties vying for wind farms from BP, it may not take much to sway the company one way or another. In Archer County, rumor has it that commissioners are planning to agree exactly to the proposal made by BP.