Two new renewable energy generators are being proposed in Cooke County. The two projects – BT Cooke Solar, LLC and Wildcat Creek Wind Farm LLC – are both seeking significant tax breaks in return for bringing their investment to the area. BT Cooke Solar’s application was posted in March of this year, and Wildcat Creek Wind Farm’s application was just posted in late July. Both are still up for consideration by the taxing entities listed below.
The BT Cooke Solar project is being proposed by Belltown Power. This company is based out of the United Kingdom and has wind and solar farms located around the U.K. and the U.S.
The Wildcat Creek Wind Farm project is being proposed by EDP Renewables. This company is based out of Portugal and ranks fourth in the U.S. in terms of net installed capacity of wind power. They currently operate three wind farms already located in Texas.
Given that wind and solar producers receive over $35/MWh and $230/MWh in federal subsidies, respectively, it is evident that these companies are taking full advantage of our federal funds in furthering their foreign-based businesses.
It is not surprising that these companies have made their way here to Texas, given the significant tax incentives that many local governments provide to renewable energy producers, primarily through Chapters 312 and 313 of the Tax Code.
Here is an overview of what these companies are seeking in Cooke County:
- Cooke County – considering a 50 percent annual tax abatement for both companies, which would represent a $56,500 annual tax break for BT Cooke Solar, LLC (property value to be abated not available for Wildcat Creek Wind Farm)
- Era ISD – considering reducing the taxable value of the project from $39,261,150 to $20,000,000 the first year for BT Cooke Solar, LLC
- Muenster ISD – considering reducing the taxable value of the project from $44,252,000 to $30,000,000 the first year for Wildcat Creek Wind Farm
- Local (unspecified in application) Hospital, College, and Water System – considering a 50 percent annual property tax abatement for Wildcat Creek Wind Farm
These incentives are provided at the expense of local taxpayers in the area. Why should multimillion- or multibillion-dollar corporations be provided with tax breaks, especially since they are bringing little more than unreliable energy and higher electricity costs?
Also, both companies applied for a waiver for the minimum job requirement, as Wildcat Creek Wind Farm will bring only three jobs to the area and BT Cooke Solar only one.
As the Texas grid struggles to keep up with the summer heat, Texas should end state and local renewable energy subsidies to ensure an affordable and reliable supply of energy.
See a full list of ongoing renewable energy projects here to see if YOUR county is being affected.