Economic Benefits

Wind power creates a town with no taxes

Jim Fontaine's dairy farm in Sheldon, N.Y.
Wind power creates a town with no taxes
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When April 15 rolls around, how would you like to pay no local taxes?

For the town of Sheldon, N.Y., that’s been the case since a wind farm came online eight years ago.

Sheldon sits in the upper western corner of New York, just a short ride from Buffalo. It’s an agricultural community with more dairy farms than any other county in the state. In 2009, Invenergy’s High Sheldon wind farm started generating electricity, and the project’s benefit’s have been helping the people of Sheldon ever since.

The payments the town of 2,500 receives every year were enough to eliminate local taxes for the first eight years of the project’s life. Only this past year was there a small tax, levied just to cover the cost of some newly purchased highway equipment.

The project has also been a major boon for Sheldon’s dairy farmers. Dairy farming is a tight-margin business, and the lease payments many farmers receive help them keep things running in years when milk prices are low or drought hits, both of which have been the case in 2016. When farming is more lucrative, the payments help pay for new, more efficient equipment and repairs to farm infrastructure.

Many Sheldon residents have roots stretching back more than 100 years, and relish the rural agriculture lifestyle that’s long been the town’s hallmark. With the lack of taxes and stable income for farmers, the High Sheldon wind farm has helped ensure Sheldon will maintain its character for generations to come.

Economic Benefits

Greg is AWEA's Deputy Director of External Communications. He is the head editor and writer for Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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