FOX10 News has an update to story first reported in April. A Virginia-based company wants to build wind farms throughout Baldwin County. In February, the Baldwin County Commission created a 180-day moratorium on building any wind structures. Now, it has drafted an ordinance to regulate wind turbines in the county.
“I became enthusiastic about it because I saw the economic value and impact on the community and for Baldwin County,” said Thomas Damson.
Damson said his land in South Baldwin County is prime property for a wind farm.
“The impact on me as a landowner, is of course the positive side is the revenue stream but my property taxes will change. And built into the agreements with APEX, they agreed to pay the additional taxes,” said Damson.
It’s been an on-going battle for months now, turning farm land into wind farms in Baldwin County…leaving one commissioner with some unanswered questions.
“You get this here and it’s not what’s conducive to the community and then you’re stuck with it. We’ve got a lot of questions that are unanswered. That’s stuff that we are trying to research right now,” said District 4 Commissioner Charles Gruber.
Commissioner Gruber said the ordinance will be voted on sometime in July. At that time, it could override the moratorium.
“We did not have anything in our regulations that would allow us to regulate them whatsoever,” Commissioner Gruber.
APEX Wind Energy representative Wade Barnes does not understand why the commission is putting up a fight.
“This is usually a no-brainer for local officials. You’ve got an opportunity to extend the tax base of the county, create local jobs, over a long term…and at the same time, your constituents are not receiving any additional taxes. I think there’s still time for the local officials to do the right thing. And provide an opportunity for residents of Baldwin County to benefit from this project,” said Barnes.
If built, the company said the wind farms would produce enough energy to power 23,000 homes in Alabama. It would also create some short-term construction jobs and long-term maintenance jobs.
APEX said the company is invested in the Gulf Coast region and plans on creating new forms of energy in the future.
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