TAFT – Surrounding areas here will likely see more wind turbines going up after plans were laid out in commissioners court Monday.
Dale Cummings from Apex Clean Energy detailed plans to install 61 new turbines in areas already designated for the equipment.
Commissioners had concerns over the damage that will be done to county roads while heavy equipment is brought in, and wanted to make sure Apex was on board with cleaning up their mess.
Commissioner Fred Nardini said Apex needs to be on the hook for at least a year after they’re done moving heavy loads.
“The breakdown from the bottom up is where it starts. It may be six months to a year before I realize hey, I’ve got problems here. What guarantee are you guys going to give me that you will come back and fix it?” he asked. “You guys have not spent any money on roads so far. We have discussed that in our meetings, and so far I have not seen anything change.”
Cummings said Apex is willing to work with commissioners.
“My thought was this had been agreed to and everybody was happy, but clearly that’s not the case,” he said.
He suggested they delay action on the item while Apex works with court until they’re happy with the agreement.
Commissioners also had concerns about the variance Apex was asking for. Normally, a company needs to bring at least 20 new jobs to the area to qualify for the tax break Apex is asking of the county.
“Simply put, wind farms don’t create the same number of jobs as manufacturing,” Cummings said. “It just simply doesn’t take a lot of people to operate a wind farm. There’s just so many jobs per turbine.”
The planned $230 million project will install new 2.62 megawatt turbines, which are larger than ones currently installed in the Taft area.
Those land leases were previously owned by E.ON Climate & Renewables before they sold them to Apex, according to discussion.
County Judge Terry Simpson confirmed that no turbines would be springing up in new areas.
“They’re going in between what’s already there,” he assured residents.
Commissioners tabled action on the tax abatement and will discuss the matter again at a future meeting after talking with Apex.
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