$400 million wind project brings jobs, revenue to Carson County - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

$400 million wind project brings jobs, revenue to Carson County

Panhandle, TX -- A massive new wind farm will provide both jobs and revenue to our area and will likely be a long-lasting boon to several area schools.

A company called Pattern Energy Group recently announced construction has started on a $400 million wind farm in Carson County.  And that means Carson County and its schools stand to reap some pretty significant short- and long-term benefits.

The company expects to hire about 200 employees for construction, and then provide a dozen full-time jobs in the county.  When construction is completed in August of 2014, the company says they will make an $800,000 donation to start a new county fund, much of which will benefit schools in White Deer and Panhandle.  Then every year after that, the company will make a recurring contribution to that fund.

And wind energy has seen enormous growth across Texas and in our area in the last several years, thanks to both Texas wind resources, and federal tax abatements.

"They're able to create so much energy from the winds formed here, that it's really a growing trend we're going to see continue as long as Congress continues with the Production Tax Credit," says Steve Myers, Executive Director of Class 4 Winds in Amarillo.

The Production Tax Credit provides generous tax incentives for new wind farm construction, thereby spurring new growth.  It was first put into place in 1992, and Congress has renewed or suspended it over the years.  It was renewed this year as part of the "fiscal cliff" agreement.

One advantage to wind farms is they produce electricity with no water - unlike coal-fired plants, which use water to wash away impurities.

"That's without any extra drilling, there's no use of water," says Myers, "It is basically free energy - you know, just the wind - that's basically making the wind boom and the wind industry here really grow."

This new project is one of several started in our area recently - Hansford, Ochiltree, and Oldham counties all have new wind projects in the works.  Carson County Judge Lewis Powers says the new project will have a significant economic impact on the county, its schools, and quality of life for residents.

If you'd like to learn more about wind power, Pattern Energy Group, or the project itself, follow the links attached to this story.

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