Geronimo Energy officials told the Stutsman County Commission Tuesday the company is committed to building the $320 million Courtenay Wind Farm.
The commission unanimously approved continuing its support for the proposed wind farm project by Geronimo Energy after company officials committed to providing the same amount of tax revenues to the county despite possible savings Geronimo may receive if proposed changes to the state’s taxing structure are approved by the North Dakota Legislature next year.
Noel Rahn, founder and chairman of Geronimo Energy, and Jay Hesse, project manager, attended the meeting to tell commissioners that Geronimo is committed to building the Courtenay Wind Farm no matter what happens with the state’s wind farm tax.
“This will be built. This wind farm will be built,” Rahn said. “Regardless of what happens, we’ve got more than $10 million invested in the project.”
Under the current state tax credit system, Stutsman County would receive about $880,000 annually from the state’s power generation tax over a 20-year period. Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer, said under changes outlined in a bill that will be considered by the North Dakota Legislature sometime in January, the county would receive about $6 million less in tax revenues over a 20-year period.
Rahn said Geronimo will make up the difference in tax revenues to Stutsman County if this bill is approved by the Legislature.
The wind farm will have between 87 and 137 wind turbine generators, depending on the size of the wind turbines. Rahn said in order to qualify for federal production tax credits, the farm must be completed by the end of 2015.
“We have to get those turbines spinning by the end of 2015 or we lose tax benefits,” he said.
Hesse said the work was supposed to start on the wind farm this year, but the company had problems getting an agreement to plug into the transmission grid. Those problems have been resolved, Hesse said.
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