S-TISD board OKs tax abatement for wind farm

Shown here are wind turbines in the Tynan area.

SKIDMORE – Another wind farm could be coming to the Coastal Bend region thanks to action taken by the Skidmore-Tynan Independent School District board of trustees.

The board, at its May 11 meeting, voted in favor of an application for a Chapter 313 value limitation agreement for RWE Renewables. The agreement, said Superintendent Dr. Dustin Barton after the meeting, that the company is asking for is an abatement of $20 million in maintenance and operation property taxes for the first 10 years that the wind farm is in operation. RWE also agrees to pay any loss of revenue to the district.

When it comes to the interest and sinking – or debt service – portion of RWE’s tax bill, Barton said the company will pay the full value.

“That revenue allows more capacity if the district pursues new bonds, or we can pay down existing debt earlier or lower the I&S tax rate,” he said.

Barton said the project, valued at $141 million, is two years from beginning construction northeast of Papalote along the Refugio County line.

According to documents RWE submitted with its Chapter 313 application, what will be known as the Blackjack Creek Wind Farm will be constructed on a single piece of land that is within the Skidmore-Tynan, Beeville and Woodsboro independent school districts. Beeville and Woodsboro, along with the Coastal Bend College District, also will be asked to approve similar applications.

RWE is proposing approximately 60 wind turbine generators, with about 240 megawatts of electricity, capacity for Blackjack Creek. Thirty-two of the generators, capable of producing 136 megawatts of power, would be within the S-TISD portion of the wind farm.

Barton said this is not the school board’s first experience with a Chapter 313 agreement for a wind farm. Its first agreement, he said, was related to the Karankawa Wind Farm project in Tynan, which has a proposed value of $167 million. That wind farm goes online this year.