A Canadian alternative energy company has acquired ownership of the South Clay and Shannon 1 wind farm development in far southwest Clay County with plans to begin construction in January 2015.
Alterra Energy Corp. purchased the planned 202 megawatt wind farm from early development company Horn Wind LLC, of Windthorst. The announcement was made by Jimmy Horn, president of Horn Wind, during Monday’s meeting of Clay County commissioners.
Construction of the project is set to begin in January, and should be completed in July 2015. Horn told commissioners Alterra has co-managed the development with Horn Wind for six months. The purchase price of the development was not disclosed.
The development will be a boon for county coffers, as well as Midway ISD. Once complete, the wind farm will be valued at $250 million, said County Judge Kenneth Liggett, and will create 50-100 temporary construction jobs and 7-10 permanent jobs in on-site operations.
Construction will be funded with the assistance of tax abatements.
Clay County will receive annual payments in lieu of taxes, beginning at $300,000, and increasing in increments over a period of 10 years to an estimated $1.4 million. Clay County will receive $8.8 million over a decade, beginning in 2016 or 2017, said Liggett, an average of $750,000 per year over 20 years, according to a statement from Horn Wind.
Midway ISD will receive $50,000 annually in lieu of taxes.
Horn said the value of wind farms typically levels off after 10 years, at which point, the county and school district will begin taxing the company at their regular rates.
The wind farm site is spread across more than 10,000 acres in a five-square mile site in the southwest corner of the county. The area is bound to the north by Hugh Henderson Road, to the east by Watson Road, to the west by Archer County. Horn said a small portion of the site crosses into Jack County to the south, but all turbines will be located inside Clay County.
Early planning called for the South Clay and Shannon 1 sites to be completed in two phases, but under Alterra’s ownership will be constructed concurrently.
The combined wind farm will have 118 turbines, each producing 1.715 megawatts and valued at $3 million. Winds of 7 miles per hour are required to turn the three-blade props measuring 320 feet from tip to tip. Each of 350-foot tower will sit on an 80-foot round concrete pad extending eight feet into the earth.
The turbines are most efficient with winds of 10 to 30 miles per hour. Six years of data collected at the site by Horn Wind show an average wind speed of 18-20 miles per hour at 350 feet.
Roughly 10 percent of roads that will connect each of the turbine towers have been constructed and 15 percent of excavation work completed in December, enough for Alterra to qualify for a U.S. Production tax credit.
Last week, Alterra Energy placed a $4.5 million deposit with Oncor, securing the Texas company as a transmission provider. Alterra will construct a collection station linking the wind turbines at a cost of $4 million. Oncor will construct a substation on Hugh Henderson Road valued at $10 million. The substation is not applicable to tax abatements.
Alterra Energy, a publicly-traded company based in Vancouver, B.C., operates a hydroelectric facility and a wind farm in British Columbia, two geothermal energy plants in Iceland and a geothermal plant in Nevada.
The South Clay and Shannon 1 is the first early development project started by Horn Wind LLC, and will be the third completed. Horn Wind also developed two wind farms in Archer County.