Tipton – A company wanting to build a wind farm in eastern Tipton County has submitted an application for a 10-year tax abatement.
Andy Melka, development manager for Chicago-based E-On Climate & Renewables, told members of the Tipton County Council on Tuesday the company plans to invest $300 million to $400 million in Madison and Tipton counties to develop Wild Cat Wind Farm, Phase I.
E-On was created out of the merger of two other companies in 2006 and currently operates 12 wind farms, 10 in Texas and one each in New York and Pennsylvania. In addition to the investment E-On is considering in Indiana, the company is developing two other plants in Illinois, said Melka.
Of the local project, Melka said, half of the investment will be made in Tipton County. Melka told council members the company has 10,000 acres under lease in Tipton County and will utilize up to 8,000 acres as part of Phase I of the project.
“The tax abatement is necessary for the project to move forward,” Melka said.
Council member Beth Roach had a copy of the application submitted by E-On for the tax abatement.
Madison County officials have already given preliminary approval to a similar tax abatement for the company. Melka said most wind farms in Indiana have received tax abatements on their investments.
Melka said the company will pay $3.4 million in property taxes in Tipton County over the 10 years the tax abatement is in effect and approximately $800,000 per year after the abatement expires.
Tipton property owners will be paid between $500,000 and $700,000 per year in royalties for the placement of wind turbines on their property.
Company and Tipton County officials are close to finalizing two agreements, one concerning economic development and the other a road-use agreement, according to Melka.
Councilwoman Suzanne Alexander asked how much the project would cost county taxpayers.
“We’re not asking for any expenditures by the county,” Melka said. “We will pay for all upgrades and inspections to the county roads.”
Melka said there would be four to six turbine towers per square mile and that each tower would take a half-acre of land out of agricultural production.
“The turbines will begin being placed in 2012,” Melka said.
When asked about the assessed value of the turbines, Melka said it would be $50 million after the tax abatement expires. He said the assessed value is uniform in Indiana and established by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
“We have agreed to not lobby for a reduction in the assessment,” he added.
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