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WISD trustees approve application from energy company to offer break to establish wind farm

WOODSBORO – Acknow-ledging that accepting an application from E.ON to build a wind farm in South Refugio County meant not approving the wind farm, school district trustees moved to OK accepting the application.

Rich Saunders of the wind energy company conducted a small presentation about wind company and what it could mean for the Woodsboro school district Monday night, June 18.

He advised that the district should enter into a Chapter 313 with the wind farm industry.

A Chapter 313 – an appraised value limitation – is filed with the state comptrollers office, and is an agreement by the industry to build or install property and create jobs.

In exchange for the introduction of a new industry, E.ON is seeking a 10-year limitation on the taxable property value for school district maintenance and operations tax (M&O) purposes.

He said the district would benefit, receiving as much as $50,000 a year.

Saunders said E.ON wants to build a wind farm on 18,000 acres of land called the Cranell Wind Project in South Refugio County. Each turbine would take 200 to 300 acres.

The wind farm would have 100 wind turbines, each reaching a height of 492 feet with a tower 270 feet high.

He said the wind farm would produce about 5,200 megawatts, enough to provide energy for 5 million homes.

The wind farm would be constructed off U.S. Highway 77 and construction would start in late 2018 or early 2019.

“We did a lot of studies. It’s a feasible project,” Saunders said.

Those studies include environmental, FAA approval and acquiring grid connections.

He said the project would have 200 to 300 construction jobs over 30 years.

And 10 to 12 full-time tech jobs would be created.

He added that his company will present the school district with a $75,000 check to cover the cost of evaluating the application for a Chapter 313, which ultimately will be decided upon by the comptroller’s office.

He said the cost should cover using the district’s lawyer and financial adviser.

He said to make the project viable, his company would need the school tax value limitation and a county abatement.

“We are asking you and the county to entice us to come over,” Saunders said.

Saunders assured trustees there would be no downside to the approval of the application.

Over 10 years, Saunders estimated a $25 million investment in the project.