Amarillo Globe News – Wind farm, museum board get OKs from Potter

April 12th, 2005  |  Published in Articles

Potter County commissioners gave their nod Monday to a tax abatement agreement with a Wildorado wind farm and approved a board of directors for a railroad museum in the Santa Fe Building.

During Monday’s meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement agreement with Wildorado Wind Farms.

Randy Sowell, an official with Austin-based Cielo Wind Power, told commissioners earlier about 20-25 percent of the project would be in Potter County if the county approved an estimated $900,000 package of tax breaks.

Before approving the agreement, Potter County Judge Arthur Ware and Commissioner Joe Kirk quizzed Sowell about the project.

Ware asked Sowell about the availability of federal tax credits for the wind farm.

“They are dependent on the amount of production we have on the ground at the end of the year,” Sowell told commissioners.

Sowell said the federal tax credits amount to 1.8 percent per kilowatt of renewable energy produced by the wind farm and that they would be deleted from the farm’s federal taxes. The project is expected to be located in eastern Oldham County and western Potter County.

Kirkwood, a supporter of the project, asked when construction could begin.

Sowell said the project could begin producing energy sometime next year, but availability of turbines and financing will dictate when construction will start.

In lieu of taxes, the Wildorado wind farm will pay the county up to $1,000 annually over the 10-year period for each megawatt of capacity produced in Potter County – up to a maximum of $20,000 per year.

After the meeting, Tom Houle, a Cielo official, said wind farm officials planned to meet with landowners to discuss the project. Houle said he could not discuss the specific location of the wind farm, citing ongoing negotiations with landowners.

Commissioners also approved a board of directors for the proposed railroad museum.

Project director Walter Wolfram said the board plans to create a corporate entity to oversee the museum and seek tax-exempt status.

Board members are: Wolfram; Dr. Fred Rathjen, professor emeritus from West Texas A&M University; Jim Thompson, senior vice president from Amarillo National Bank; Realtor Carol Whittenburg; Dr. Madeline Coury, DDS; Sloan Kritser of Kritser Investments; attorney Vincent Nowak; attorney Ginger Nelson; and business owner Roni Swindell.

Copyright 2005 Amarillo Globe-News
Record Number: 1096F5B7DA9867CE