Economic Development: McCamey Story
- From: "Finzel, Ben" <finzelb@...>
Subject: another McCamey/wind story
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 08:20:32 -0500
McCamey, Texas, Finds Economic Boost Blown in By Wind Turbines
By Julie Breaux, Odessa American, Texas -- July 6
When the dust starts flying in McCamey, Mayor Sherry Phillips sees dollars
When the wind kicks up, the 214 wind turbines at the nearby King Mountain
Wind Farm generate hundreds of thousands of kilowatts of electricity that's
snapped up by utilities serving Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin.
McCamey, once in danger of drying up and blowing away because of the
decline in oil and gas revenues, has become a vital link in the
transmission of electricity to Texas' most crowded cities.
The change in the status of this small oil town pleases Phillips mightily.
"This is our newest industry since 1925, when oil came in," she said. "It
doesn't require water, and that's good because we don't have that in
excess. But we do have a lot of air, and if the wind doesn't blow, we can
get everyone to talk."
What they're talking about in the towns located closest to the six wind
farms in Upton, Pecos and Crockett counties are the direct and indirect
benefits of being a hub of wind energy.
The land where the wind farms are located have been used for grazing. So,
the multi-million improvements have created new revenue streams for the
school districts in Pecos and Upton counties, in particular.
The three wind farms in Pecos County have an appraised value of $287
million and paid $4.7 million in school taxes last year.
In Upton County, the King Mountain and Southwest Mesa wind farms, valued at
a combined $200 million, paid $3 million in taxes to the McCamey school
district last year, according to the tax assessor-collector's office.
Meanwhile, Crockett County collected about $53,000 in school taxes last
year from FPL's Southwest Mesa Wind Farm, the majority of which is located
in Upton County, Crockett County Tax Assessor-Collector Tommy Stokes said.
Building the wind farms has been a boon to the host counties as well.
Construction of the Pecos County wind farms generated $11 million in gross
sales and created 80 to 100 jobs. That's comparable to the economic impact
of the Toyota Plant about to be built in San Antonio, said Doug May,
executive director of the Pecos County Economic Development Corp.
When the tax abatements the counties granted the wind-energy companies
expire, they will begin reaping the financial benefits only the school
districts now enjoy.
Phillips said the wind farms in and around McCamey have propped up property
values and created jobs.
"King Mountain provided 30 to 40 jobs when it got up and running, which is
great for us because they are better-paying jobs than what most of these
people have had out here, at least for some," Phillips said. "We can always
use more (wind farms), but we're hoping maybe related industries will come
in. They will definitely be welcome." In addition to the wind farms, the
Lower Colorado River Authority is planning to spend about $500 million over
the next two to three years to improve the transmission system.
The LCRA last week energized a $95 million bulk transmission line north of
The 345-kilovolt line took five years to complete and provided a welcome
boost to the economies of the cities and towns through which the line
passed, said Bill McCann, spokesman for the LCRA.
"It was certainly a boon to the folks in San Angelo area," McCann said.
"That sure did bring in additional jobs. I think the contractor hired like
60 employees locally for that project. So it does indicate there will be
some local economic benefit."
To see more of the Odessa American, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to
(c) 2003, Odessa American, Texas. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune