MARYVILLE, Mo. — The Nodaway County Commission on Tuesday ratified two resolutions that will pave the way for a new wind farm in northern Nodaway County currently under development by the Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska corporation.
If operational as planned in 2020, the installation will constitute the county’s third wind-energy development, alongside Tradewind Energy’s White Cloud Wind Project in southwest Nodaway and the existing Conception Wind Farm east of Maryville, which was built a decade ago by Wind Capital Group.
About 30 people attended Tuesday’s public hearing, during which the three-member commission voted unanimously to approve resolutions recommended for passage by the boards of the Nodaway County Enhanced Enterprise Zone and the Northwest Nodaway County Enhanced Enterprise Zone.
Both EEZs were founded about 10 years ago in an effort to provide incentives in the form of tax abatements designed to attract corporate investment in economically challenged rural areas.
When completed, the “Tenaska Clear Creek Energy Center,” which will embrace between 100 and 120 wind turbines stretching north from Maryville to the Iowa line, is projected to produce about 240 megawatts of electricity, or approximately enough energy to power about 100,000 single-family residences.
The electricity will be sold to Springfield-based Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., which will in turn wholesale wind-produced power to six regional co-ops, including United Electric, which serves much of rural Nodaway County
Construction cost for the new wind farm is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million. When completed, Tenaska 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.
Other districts set to benefit from the Clear Creek project include West Nodaway R-I and Maryville R-II.
For every tax dollar paid by Tenaska, 68 cents will go for schools. The rest is earmarked for other governmental entities, including municipalities and rural fire protection districts.
Nodaway County Economic Development Director Josh McKim said between 70 and 80 percent of the new tax revenue would go to rural taxing entities with the remainder owed to Maryville schools and governmental operations.
In addition, Clear Creek is expected to create about 15 permanent jobs with an annual payroll of between $765,000 and $1.2 million. Construction, set for 2019, will create another 200 temporary jobs until the project is complete.
The project’s status as an EEZ development means Tenaska will receive a tax abatement of between 50 and 60 percent per turbine, which will have assessed valuations of $5,900 per megawatt. Windmills used for the project are projected to produce between two and three megawatts each.
Tarkio R-I school Superintendent Karma Coleman, whose Atchison County district contains a large wind farm, said during the hearing that the development has had a major impact.
Among other things, Tarkio district wind dollars are paying for $4 million in capital improvements, including renovation of a district-owned building once part of now-defunct Tarkio College.
Other benefits embrace expanded vocational education programs and proposed increases in teacher pay.
Wind farm funds, Coleman said, have made a “significant difference in the amount of money and the number of opportunities that Tarkio (schools) has to offer.”
She added that wind-related development has led to job creation and new businesses countywide.
“We are now able to do things in the district that otherwise would not be a possibility,” Coleman said. “Anytime you have an opportunity for something like this to come into your community, it’s definitely worth looking at. I don’t think you want to turn those opportunities away.”
Unlike a similar hearing last month for the proposed Tradewind Energy wind farm in southwest Nodaway County, no landowners posed objections. In fact, when Presiding County Commissioner Bill Walker asked those attending for questions or comments not a single hand was raised.
In addition to increased tax revenues and new jobs carrying salaries of between $50,000 and $80,000 a year each, the Clear Creek project is expected to pay landowners a combined $1.2 million annually for leased turbine locations.