A renewable energy company is asking for a ten-year tax abatement from Howard County as a part of its plan to develop a 1,500-acre wind farm in the area.
The E-on Climate and Renewables project spans four counties. The first phase includes Madison and Tipton counties. Once that is complete, the company plans to expand its wind farm to Howard and Grant counties.
Howard County is considering giving E-on a tax abatement — essentially excusing them from paying property taxes for a time because of the economic benefits the development is supposed to bring to the area.
Howard County Council President Richard Miller says he supports the plan, although he admits it would be nice if they could wait and see how the project turns out in the other counties before approving the abatement.
“There is always an issue I guess or concern frankly with many of us as to whether or not this is going to go as advertised,” he says.
But Miller says the county has to act fairly soon. Otherwise, the project may not be as profitable to E-on and the company could pull the plug or move to another county.
E-on spokesperson Matt Tulis says the company has offered county officials some reassurances.
“Our investment in the project is up front,” he says, “so when we get to the point where we start construction, we’re confident that the project will work economically for us.”
Construction of the first turbines is expected to begin in Madison and Tipton counties in July. And a public hearing on the tax abatement in Howard County has been set for later this month.