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Commissioners approve introducing transmission line ordinance

Clovis city commissioners unanimously approved Thursday night the introduction of an ordinance that could make way for a 30-mile transmission line stretching from the Blackwater Draw station to the proposed Tres Amigas site.

Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Chase Gentry said there is no cost to Clovis to build the $50 million transmission line, which would be paid for with money from an industrial revenue bond that will last for 30 years.

Pattern Energy, Gentry said, partnered with Tres Amigas to operate the wind farm in Grady.

“We requested a 30 year IRB tax abatement and expedited this process to meet those requests we’ve had from (Pattern Energy) and Grady,” Gentry said. “The IRB is in place until the Tres Amigas project moves forward.”

Lorelei Hunt, a resident in Curry County who has worked with Gentry on the wind farm project as a landowner attorney for five years, said the project has been “community-driven,” and has had support from a lot of people in her community.

“It’s taken families in Grady, Broadview and Texas and families along Sugarbeat Road to make it all possible,” Hunt told commissioners. “It’s nice to see so much commitment made to progress in Curry County. We’re at the tip of the iceberg, it’s just a tiny snowball rolling downhill and picking up steam.”

Hunt said if there were ever a project to encompass Curry County in its entirety, it’s this one.

Mayor David Lansford added that when IRBs are issued, they abate property taxes for developments and the city negotiates payments in lieu of taxes (PILT). Lansford said 30 percent of the PILT will go toward Curry County, Clovis, Clovis Municipal Schools, Texico schools, Texico and Clovis Community College.
But not until Tres Amigas begins construction on its power station.

Tres Amigas hopes to become a hub to connect the nation’s three major electric power grids. First proposed in 2009, organizers have missed multiple self-imposed deadlines to break ground, citing failure to secure financing.

But the company, and city officials, remain hopeful it can become reality.

“Once Tres Amigas begins construction, they absorb the responsibilities and ownership of the interconnection,” Lansford explained. “They will absorb that, so then the PILT we already negotiated will apply.”

Until then, Lansford said, the money would go toward economic development efforts.

“Everyone wins,” Lansford said.

Gentry said the project along with wind farm construction in Grady will bring around 40 direct and indirect jobs to Curry County and around 200 wind turbines.
Also approved at Thursday’s commission meeting:

• Appointment of Dr. James Jennings to the Civil Aviation Board.

• Re-appointment of Don David, Candace Morrison and Marcus Smith to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Approval of awarding Ingram Channel Bridge work to Smith Company along with approving budget changes.

Slated for the next commission meeting, scheduled for Nov. 5:

• Appointing membership to the Economic Incentive Board.