Construction on the first wind farm in Young County could begin in a few months after commissioners voted unanimously Monday to approve a tax abatement agreement with BP North America.
Jay Prothro II, director of wind farm development for BP, said there are still a few hurdles to clear, but he hopes construction can begin in April.
“We’re hoping to be on the ground April 1,” Prothro said. “We would anticipate going commercial by Dec. 31, 2011. There’s still some things we need to get lined up.”
Jay Cantrell, the attorney hired to represent Young County in the wind farm negotiations, said after two months of negotiations, BP and the county had reached an agreement.
“We’ve got a final agreement with Trinity Hills or BP on a tax abatement agreement,” Cantrell said. “We have given notice to the other taxing entities. This is the same reinvestment zone we had.”
Prothro said BP had considered enlarging the reinvestment zone but chose to make no changes right now to speed up the process.
“There’s a possibility that could happen in the future,” Prothro said. “We decided to stay with what we’ve got now. We can always expand later if we want to.”
Prothro said the first shovel of dirt may not be moved until April, but BP would have people in the county working out the final details right after the new year.
“You’ll see some action next week, beginning the 4th I believe,” he said.
Cantrell said Archer County was considering almost the same agreement Monday.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jimmy Wiley made a motion to approve the abatement, and Precinct 1 Commissioner John Hawkins seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with County Judge Stan Peavy III abstaining due to a conflict of interest.
After the vote, Wiley said approving the abatement was a big step for Young County.
“I think it’s good,” Wiley said. “It’s a good start for the beginning of a lot more coming through. We’re already working on Gamesa, and I think there’s another one in the background. I hope this broke the ice. Hopefully we can get some done to get some tax dollars but also to get some jobs.”
In the agreement with BP, the company agreed to create six permanent jobs, guarantee a presence in the county for 20 years, pay all attorney fees and repair all damage to roads made during construction.
Wiley said while the abatement agreement is good for the entire county, it is especially beneficial to the city of Olney, Olney ISD and the Hamilton Hospital District.
“That’s the neat thing about it,” Wiley said. “We’re fixing to help a community over there that’s been struggling for several years, especially the school district and the hospital district.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding