The new $363-million Crow Lake Wind Project near White Lake, S.D., has just paid its first property tax bills to three rural counties in the amount of a very welcome $800,000, about $300,000 more than expected, according to delighted local authorities.
Basin Electric Cooperative operates the 162-megawatt (MW) Crow Lake wind farm, which paid $297,000 to Jerauld County, $257,000 to Brule County, and $239,000 to Aurora County, according to the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic.
The article quoted Jerauld County Director of Equalization Susan Jost as pointing out that the wind farm's property tax payments are all benefits to local governments: “The landowner still pays the taxes like they always have. We did not lose any property tax dollars from the land. That did not change. All the money is an increase in taxes.”
Officials from three local school districts–Wessington Springs, White Lake, and Kimball–said the revenue will help them meet their budgets during a challenging time. White Lake School District Business Manager Carol Gillen said that without the tax money from the wind farm, her district would have had to either cut its budget further or to seek approval to go beyond state limits on tax increases.
Jerauld County Commission Chairman Larry Olson, who had supported the wind project, put the effect on the county's budget this way: “It means a lot. It makes an impact. We’ve got some road and bridge issues. We tried for an opt-out [going beyond the state tax increase limit] and that failed. Every dollar we get off those wind towers is a blessing, that’s for sure.”
Many rural counties across the nation's heartland have found that the expansion of the wind power industry, which has been supported by the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), has been a godsend for local economies through:
– Payments to farmers, ranchers, and other landowners, who receive $3,000 or more annually for each turbine located on their land.
– Local property tax payments, as outlined above.
– A shot in the arm for restaurants, motels, and other local businesses as hundreds of construction workers come to town for several months to build projects.
– The addition of a modest number of long-term, skilled jobs in wind farm operations and maintenance.
These are just a few of the ways in which projects which have attracted investment thanks to the PTC are benefiting the economy. We've talked a lot on this blog about the new manufacturing jobs created in the wind power industry, but the positive impact it's had on rural communities is equally striking.
The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale turbines. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first.
A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 97 cosponsors, including 21 Republicans, while a Senate bill to extend it was introduced March 15 by seven Senators, including three Republicans. PTC extension efforts have received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Western Governors’ Association. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S. A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Houston Chronicle, The New York Times, the Denver Post, and the Daily Oklahoman.
Further endorsements of the wind energy production tax credit.
PTC extension part of 'all of above' policy, says sponsor Reichert, May 7, 2012
PTC extension: Why the stakes are so much bigger this year, May 4, 2012
Sen. Bennet: Congress 'not doing job' on PTC extension, May 3, 2012
Veterans training co. officer: PTC extension good for vets, economy, May 2, 2012
NW policy group: PTC helps lead to clean energy future, April 30, 2012
Congressman Thompson, veterans, industry experts call for PTC extension, April 27, 2012
Layoffs in U.S. wind power accelerate as Congress fails to act on PTC extension, April 26, 2012
Submit a comment to the House Ways & Means Committee: Extend the PTC immediately!, April 25, 2012
High-tech component manufacturer calls for PTC extension, April 24, 2012
Union leader: Earth Day is also about jobs, and a PTC extension, April 23, 2012
New graphics reveal impact of impending PTC expiration on wind industry, April 20, 2012
'Think globally, act locally': News items underscore PTC and manufacturing jobs, April 19, 2012
Senator Levin visits Michigan wind component maker, urges PTC extension, April 18, 2012
Wind power drives strong interest in U.S. renewable electricity generation, April 17, 2012
WindTV: WINDPOWER in Atlanta, spotlighting PTC expiration risk to manufacturing growth, April 16, 2012
AWEA Annual Market Report underscores need for PTC extension, April 13, 2012
Iowa city prospers, hopes for PTC extension, April 12, 2012
Denver Post editorial writer: PTC extension 'important to nation, Colorado,' April 11, 2012
From Nevada, Michigan, Montana: Calls for PTC extension, April 10, 2012
Sierra Club, BP agree: Extend the PTC, April 9, 2012
South Dakota newspaper joins others in endorsing PTC, April 6, 2012
National Governors Association: Extend the PTC, April 6, 2012
Sen. Bennet tours factories, pushing jobs and PTC extension, April 5, 2012
WindTV Holiday Special: Church lives mission with wind power, April 4, 2012
Montana county commissioners call for PTC extension, April 3, 2012
'Father of PTC' explains wind incentive's value, March 30, 2012
Citing 'all of above,' former FERC chair urges PTC extension, March 29, 2012
Manufacturers tell Senate panel: PTC extension urgently needed, March 28, 2012
WindTV: Colorado county gets big boost from wind power, March 26, 2012
Former Congressman Boucher sees PTC extension likely, March 26, 2012
WindTV: Wind power breathes new life into small Colorado town, March 21, 2012
Citing need for certainty, BP's Landis calls for PTC extension, March 20, 2012
In op-ed, Kansas Governor, Senator call for PTC extension, March 19, 2012
Bipartisan group of Senators introduces bill to extend PTC, March 16, 2012
Houston Chronicle editorial supports PTC extension, March 15, 2012
Southern Alliance head urges: Extend the PTC, March 14, 2012
WindTV: Missouri manufacturer grows with the wind, March 12, 2012
Oklahoma and America need wind technicians–and a PTC extension, March 8, 2012
WindTV: An American family, powered by a paycheck from wind, March 5, 2012
Salazar, citing 'race we cannot cede', backs extending PTC, March 1, 2012
Kerry, Brown win praise for bipartisan support of PTC extension, February 29, 2012
Wichita Eagle editorial blog endorses PTC extension, February 28, 2012
Daily Oklahoman: PTC extension “makes sense,” February 27, 2012
Bipartisan group of Illinois Representatives supports PTC extension, February 24, 2012
Kansas City Star backs PTC extension, praises Brownback, Moran, February 23, 2012
Bennet visits composites factory, urges PTC extension, February 23, 2012
Moran visits Siemens factory, pushes PTC extension, February 22, 2012
WindTV: PTC key to wind power manufacturing jobs, February 21, 2012
Topeka Capital-Journal: Extend the PTC, February 21, 2012
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA): PTC is jobs engine conservatives should support, February 17, 2012
Bennet, Moran continue bipartisan push to extend PTC, February 16, 2012
Major U.S. consumer brands like Nike on extending the PTC: Just Do It!, February 15, 2012
Oklahoma Gov. Fallin urges conferees: Extend the PTC, February 15, 2012
Michigan worker's plea: Extend PTC, help wind power create U.S. jobs, February 13, 2012
Bipartisan letter from entire Iowa Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 10, 2012
Senate Energy Chairman Bingaman: Act now to save clean-energy jobs, February 9, 2012
Bipartisan letter from Colorado Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 8, 2012
Republican governors push for PTC extension; Senators express support, February 2, 2012
U.S. Chamber of Commerce joins broad range of groups endorsing PTC extension, February 1, 2012
WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small-town America, January 24, 2012
Denver Post endorses PTC extension 'sooner rather than later', January 18, 2012
WSJ op-ed: 'Want Growth? Try Stable Tax Policy', January 5, 2012
Red State Energy, Red State Jobs, November 29, 2011