Brownwood Bulletin

Developers with Renewable Energy Systems told Brown County Commissioners Monday that the county doesn’t have “the best wind in the state.”

But the wind’s proximity to major transmission lines makes the development of wind farms a “very attractive” opportunity. William Coats, an RES representative out of Austin, said results from the wind measures and studies, so far, have “come back favorably.”

And, Coats said, a number of Brown County land owners have verbally expressed interest in leasing their land to have windmills constructed on the property.

“We are working on obtaining leases in Brown County right now,” Coats said.

Coats and Wes Jackson, an RES representative out of Houston, went before the commissioners court on Monday Jackson said to introduce themselves, to apprise commissioners of the plan and lay the ground work toward getting developments started and proceeding forth on getting a tax abatement for the Roadrunner Windfarm Project.

“Wind farms raise the tax base significantly in a county,” Jackson said. “All projects in Texas are presently getting a favorable tax abatement.”

The plan is to develop a $450 million Roadrunner Windfarm Project in Comanche, Mills and Brown counties. The project will ultimately have 150 wind towers, each at a construction cost of $3 million. So far, RES has leased more than 30,000 acres of land in Comanche and Mills counties.

In order for counties to grant abatements, the taxing entity must first establish a reinvestment zone, which should include all unincorporated areas of the county, Jackson said.

Typically, such agreements would be set up so that RES will receive a 60 percent tax abatement for the first five years of operation. Then, for the next five years, the abatement would go to 40 percent. After 10 years, the equipment would be fully taxable.

According to Coats, RES requests abatements from all taxing entities in each county. Comanche County has created a reinvestment zone and Mills County commissioners will consider establishing a reinvestment zone in their court meeting Monday.

Project officials have applied for agreements in five school districts in the Roadrunner project. Those include Blanket, Zephyr, Mullin, Priddy and Comanche. Agreements have been approved by Blanket, Mullin and Comanche school districts.

Brown County commissioners could consider the reinvestment zone at the next meeting in December.

“We are hoping to get all of the agreements in place by the end of the year,” Jackson said.