Twenty-five years ago, I started quail hunting in northern Bee County, I fell in love with the beauty, peacefulness, people and the pleasant breeze even when the temperature approached 100 degrees. I consider myself a Texan, and although many of my generations have not lived on the land, my plan was to be the first for future generations.
My bubble burst with Helena Wind Project, proposed wind generators in northern Bee County and Pawnee School District. They are not windmills, but 48 – 400’ tall wind turbines, storage facilities and transmission lines. With increasing acreage, that number could change.
My dilemma, as I’m a strong believer of property rights, is how to prevent issues that affect other property owner’s rights by maintaining the rights of adjacent owners. The area will just become the wind farm; future people will not move there and enjoy the views of turbines. And how about owners that do not have the option but get the view?
Wind turbine projects are about one thing and one thing only: money. The parent company is actually a gas company from Denmark who has sold off their mineral business and now invest in wind turbines. This is done by government abatements and payments for each kilowatt that they sell to the market. Their investment, with the government payments for what they produce, accelerated depreciation of the investment produce huge returns. Will they share their cash flow proformas? Were not talking about million-dollar but billion-dollar companies making these mass returns. This project is purely about the money. Also, turbines need fossil fuels, like carbon fibers for the blades and grease for the generators and gears. These companies operate by finding large tracts of lands, some absentee owners, others that need the income. Once acquiring large tracts, they fill in the area with smaller acreage. These owners now have little choice left and are under the pressure that everyone else has signed. However, there are still owners who will not sign.
They get federal government support, convince local county and school districts they need tax abatements. What would happen if the oil industry came to the boards and asked for abatements? Recently, Lincoln has full page adds to get support for the Pawnee school district and Bee County to provide abatements. Helena Wind Farm said they polled every property that had a registered voter in the area. These results might be a little swayed; the question asked was a favorable one directed to their needs. The question should be “Do you favor 400’ wind generators in your backyard, and do you mind if your property values decline?’
I am not sure I can do anything to prevent the wind turbines at this point, but I do hope the school district and county understand the issues and sees the profits these companies make and do not fall for their abatement schemes. Remember, they are changing the area for a minimum of 30 years. We need to vote “no” for the concessions.
Robert Cranshaw – Land Owner