Wind farm bill signing

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, the governor is shown Wednesday signing House Bill 220 into law. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Andrews, R-1, shown at left, ensures that tax revenue collected from wind farms will remain in the counties where wind turbines are located.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — According to a release issued Wednesday by the office of Gov. Mike Parson, the governor has signed House Bill 220 into law. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Andrews, R-1, ensures that tax revenue collected from wind farms will remain in the counties where wind turbines are located.

In essence, the bill revises state statutes that allowed public utilities to buy wind farms from privately held companies and spread tax dollars throughout their service areas — not the counties where the energy is actually produced.

During this year’s legislative session, Andrews called the measure “probably the most important piece of legislation that I’ll ever put my hands on in my time in office.”

Nodaway County is currently home to one completed wind farm, and two more are under development.

Together the three installations are expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue over at least the next 20 years, most of which will benefit local school districts.

The two Nodaway wind farms now being built include Enel Green Power North America’s White Cloud complex in the western part of the county and the Tenaska company’s Clear Creek Energy Center, which will spread from just north of Maryville to the Iowa line.

Once operational, White Cloud is expected to create eight or 10 permanent full-time positions paying about $70,000 each. In addition, during the 12- to 15-month construction period, the project will support more than 250 temporary construction jobs.

While property taxes assessed to White Cloud will be reduced by about 50 percent compared to existing levies, the installation will generate $1.4 million in new annual tax revenues, $900,000 of which will flow to school districts, especially South Nodaway R-IV and Nodaway-Holt R-VII.

Similar in scope and projected revenue generation to the White Cloud effort, Clear Creek is to embrace up to 120 wind turbines projected to produce about 240 megawatts of electricity, or approximately enough energy to power about 100,000 single-family residences.

Power from both projects will be sold to Springfield-based Associated Electric Cooperative then wholesaled to six regional co-ops, including United Electric, which serves much of rural Nodaway County.

Tenaska’s construction cost is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million. When completed, the company will pay about $1.2 million a year in property taxes, most of which will be funneled to public school districts, especially North Nodaway R-VI.

For every tax dollar paid by Tenaska and Enel Green Power, about 68 cents will go for schools. The rest is earmarked for other governmental entities, including municipalities and rural fire protection districts.

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Staff writer Anthony Brown can be reached at tbrown@maryvilledailyforum.com or by calling the newspaper at 660.562.2424.