|  Jun 10, 2015

Wind Energy Production Tax Provides Big Boost to Clay County in 2015

Wind industry paid more than $10 million statewide in Wind Energy Production Taxes in 2015

MOORHEAD, MINN., (June 10, 2015) Today, representatives from the wind industry presented a ceremonial check to the Clay County Commission Board Chairman representing $162,900 in wind energy production tax revenue for 2014. This new revenue comes almost entirely from the 50 megawatt Lakeswind project*, near Rollag, Minn., which began generating clean, renewable electricity in 2014.

The development of wind energy projects is welcome in Clay County. “Producing clean energy will help Minnesota and America become energy independent, and also benefits local landowners who have partnered in the project,” said Commission Board Chairman Grant Weyland. “But, in addition to those benefits, our entire community will benefit from the production tax revenue. This year, the county board has committed 80% of the county portion of revenue from the wind energy production tax toward a much-needed new county jail. Having this new revenue source will reduce the amount of tax dollars that would be needed to be raised from taxpayers to pay for this facility.”

Minnesota has been a leader in supporting the growth and development of wind energy.  Currently, Minnesota ranks in the Top 10 in the nation for installed wind capacity, and percent of total state electric generation from wind. Senator Kent Eken added, “We in Minnesota want to be leaders in the renewable energy industry.  It is a growing industry that will create many new jobs producing energy right here at home.”

The wind industry has invested $5.6 billion into Minnesota’s economy. With 3,039 megawatts of installed wind capacity, wind power now provides 15.9% of Minnesota’s electricity. “Wind energy has been good for Minnesota,” said Chris Kunkle, regional policy manager for Wind on the Wires. “This year, for the first time, the revenue from the Wind Energy Production Tax exceeds $10 million. Cumulatively, over the past 10 years, the wind industry has paid more than $56 million in production taxes. Those funds have helped hold the line on property tax increases, helped pay for road improvements and other infrastructure projects that benefit entire communities in Greater Minnesota. More than one-quarter of the counties in the state benefit from this revenue source, especially in Greater Minnesota where the jobs and economic development are needed most.”

Wind energy supports more than 1,700 well-paying wind-related jobs and 124 wind power businesses in the state.  Representative Ben Lien stated, “This project is great example of how Minnesota is contributing to our country's energy independence, through renewable energy.  These clean energy projects are also creating jobs and economic development for our state, as well as local revenue for counties.”

Wanzek Construction Vice President Arnold Jelinek stated, “Communities are often unaware of the positive impact wind energy projects bring at the local level. These projects boost local economies through revenue, jobs and property values. We see energy dollars benefit rural communities through stimulation to the local economy and we are proud to be a part of that. Wanzek’s corporate headquarters is located in Fargo. By working on local projects, we are able to see these benefits first hand. Investing in wind power means more businesses and jobs, leading to investment, development and a stronger economic environment for our own community.”

Paul White, President, Project Resources Corporation, a Minnesota-based wind and solar energy company, which provided the initial development services for the project said, “As a Minnesota-based wind and solar energy development company, it’s exciting to have worked on projects like Lakeswind that deliver clean low-cost energy to Minnesota communities. Every new wind project delivers economic opportunities for families and businesses to take advantage of one of our state’s great natural resources – the wind. Bravo to Clay, Becker and Ottertail Counties for supporting renewable wind energy!”

* Wind on the Wires is not affiliated with Lakeswind in any way.

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Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., which is comprised of wind developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind industry. Our mission is to overcome the barriers to bringing wind energy to market by addressing technical and regulatory matters, as well as through education and public outreach.