Is a Wind Farm Really the Answer?

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Blue Mountain Wind Project gave the San Juan County Commissioners a presentation on Monday  about their project.  Blue Mountain Wind has two partners Champlin and Greenbriar.

The acquisition of Blue Mountain was completed through Greenbriar Capital Corp’s wholly owned subsidiary Greenbriar Capital Holdco, Inc., which signed a definitive membership interest purchase agreement with Champlin Windpower, LLC, of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Also;

Blue Mountain holds a 20-year energy sales agreement with PacifiCorp., and Greenbriar expects the project to qualify for $42 million of monetize-able federal investment tax credits

On the surface things sound good but their presentation on Monday raised some real concerns about the legitimacy of Blue Mountain Power Partners and their objectives.  During the presentation they basically stated that they want the residents of San Juan County to pick up the bill for their project.  The issue of a tax abatement was brought up and the presenter stated that not getting an abatement from the county could hinder the project.  This is the slide they presented showing what the counties property tax was going to cost Blue Mountain Power.

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As you can see the entire project cost is $141,390,000.00 and the list of years shows the property taxes that would be paid into the county based on this cost.   As it stands now the county has around a $12,000,000.00 dollar budget and with this additional amount of property tax it could give local residents  some tax relief.  But Blue Mountain Power doesn’t want to pay their 1.3% property tax.  They want the county to cut that by 75%  and give them an abatement so that they can afford to build their private business.

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So for 20 years they want to make money in San Juan County, but not pay their property tax.  I asked San Juan County Administrator Kelly Pehrson what he thought about the abatement request?  Basically he said that property taxes is the only way the county can bring in some revenue from the wind farms which in turn benefits the residents of the county.  Other states have other fees and taxes they can use to bring in some money from businesses besides property tax, but not Utah when it comes to wind farms.  This abatement would really hit the county hard.

Commissioner Adams stated in the Monday commission work meeting that If the county gives Blue Mountain Power this abatement they would have to give Latigo Wind Park and Ellis Hall the same abatement.   Adams didn’t sound like he was in favor of losing millions in property taxes.  Tax incentives are a good thing to promote business and to encourage new businesses to move in to the area but this abatement request is not an incentive it is a free ride.

This reminds me of the ever growing national entitlement movement that has grown leaps and bounds during the current Obama administration.  What else could explain why a company would ask the public to pick up the bill for a private business?  The following statement from Greenbriar appears to support this entitlement attitude.

Greenbriar expects the project to qualify for $42 million of monetize-able federal investment tax credits

$42 million in tax credits is just another way of saying that the tax payer will be picking up the bill. These renewable energy companies that are depending on tax credits and government aid are spending the money and then going under.

As many as 50 Obama-backed green energy companies bankrupt or troubled

Is this really the type of business we want in San Juan County or do we want companies that have the money to operate and to build their own business without the taxpayer picking up the bill?

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TAKE ACTION: San Juan County,  Utah Commission Office  (435) 587-3225

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