BEEVILLE – Another wind farm is being proposed in north Bee County – this time west of Mineral.
This is the second time in recent months that a wind farm has tried to lease enough land to build such a facility.
The first was to be built closer to Mineral – an area dotted with smaller tracts of land used for ranching.
“We had heard that it wasn’t going to make, and they have told us in court that if it didn’t come together by the first part of summer, they were going to abandon the project,” County Commissioner Dennis DeWitt said during a commissioners court meeting Monday. “I’ve gotten a few phone calls recently, and they did not abandon the project.
“They hit it with a lot of money, and it looks like it’s going to make.”
In all, there are 55 wind turbines planned by Orsted, operating as Lincoln Renewables LLC, in this area west of Mineral, which means that property will not only be needed for lease, but three areas will need to be purchased to build electrical substations.
“I have gotten phone calls from people that live up in that area,” he said. “And the first phone call I got, they had offered an individual $750,000 for 30 acres to put a substation on.
“The second phone call I got was from the same individual. The company had made a mistake, and it was the wrong 30 acres.
“If the people that own the property at the other two locations find out, they probably will be able to get $750,000 or more.
“And that’s a lot of money for land anywhere in Bee County.”
As was done for the wind farm in south Bee County, company representatives are expected to approach the court and request a tax abatement.
DeWitt said that he initially voted against the reinvestment zone for the farm near Tynan, but changed his mind on the abatement after receiving calls from residents there.
“The people in the north part of the county do not want it (abatement),” he said.
The tax abatement is not required to build the wind farm – which DeWitt said is likely also receiving federal subsidies.
“If they are willing to pay $750,000 for 30 acres, they have plenty of money,” DeWitt said.
When it comes to the abatement, DeWitt said he is going to ask his fellow commissioners to not approve the tax break.
“I have not had one person come to me and say, ‘Let’s do the abatement.’”
Likely none of the wind turbines proposed for construction closer to Mineral will be built, DeWitt said.
“They are not going to do anything right around Mineral because there was so much opposition,” he said.
Its location seemed to be the largest issue, DeWitt said, adding that his property was included in that first proposed area.
“We did not accept their offer on my personal property in north Bee County,” DeWitt said. “I had a meeting with my family and kids, and they said, ‘Please do not do this.’”
DeWitt said he is still opposed to that wind farm, adding that his property is not included in the new area under consideration.
“No one where we are has been contacted in the last year,” he said. “It is all west of us as far as I know.”
Farther south, the wind farm near Tynan, and stretching into San Patricio County, is nearing completion.
Commissioner Ken Haggard said, “They are wrapping up. All the towers are up.
“We should start seeing them turn in another month.”
That wind farm, being built by Avangrid Renewables, received multiple tax abatements as residents there voiced their approval for the agreements.
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