Senate bill aims to pull tax incentives for wind farms near Texas military bases

File photo of wind turbines in West Texas. (Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle)

A controversial Senate bill that would withhold state tax incentives from wind farms operating within 25 miles of military bases made it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk on Tuesday.

If signed into law, Senate bill 277 would ideally spare risks for military bases — such as aviation hazards and radar interference — but not prevent wind farms from being developed, supporters have said. But the loss of a tax incentive would be enough to drive some companies away from some areas, leaving rural communities without the property tax boon that often comes with a wind farm, said Jeff Clark, president of the Wind Coalition, a pro-wind energy lobbying group.

RELATED: Wind, solar dominate additions to power grid in 2016

In notes attached to the bill, legislative staff said that supporters of the bill felt “the cost to the state of potentially losing a military base would far outweigh a minor hindrance to the wind industry.”

In recent years, wind has emerged as a major source of energy in Texas, which has some of the highest wind energy capacity in the country. In Texas, wind accounts for the third largest share of electricity generation, after natural gas and coal.

 

 

SHOW MORE