The Hockley County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with Red Raider Wind LLC for an 80 mega-watt wind farm to be located in north-eastern Hockley County. It was pointed out that the project will be built in 2015 and should begin operation in January 2016 according to representatives from Red Raider Wind. A resident of the Smyer community was present and asked if there was any expansion phases with the project. The company representative said that expansion phases are possible for near by property. It was noted that due to the proximity of this project to Reese Center any expansion would likely be to the west which would be in Hockley County. He also said that as the project is being developed now approximately 85-90% of the wind turbines will be located in Hockley County, the remainder would be in Lubbock County.
The agreement approved by commissioners is more of a pilot program than an abatement agreement. It was noted that the county would receive $1500 per mega-watt per year for the first 10 years and then would receive full taxable value in years 11 and after.
The project is expected to have 6-8 full-time employees, 1 of those would be a site supervisor and others would be mainly mechanical techs for the wind turbines and business techs to handle the business and accounting side of the project. It was noted that the company will likely recruit the service techs from South Plains College who has a great training program for techs working on the wind turbines. The company will recruit locally first and plans to start hiring in 2nd quarter of 2015. The project will be a significant economic boost for Hockley County and will provide roughly $500,000 in additional funds for Smyer ISD according to Red Raider Wind representatives. The extra money for Smyer ISD is part of a program developed by the State comptroller’s office. The project is expected to bring $27 Million to landowners in lease payments and will add approximately 130 Million Dollars to the tax rolls once the project and special county agreement is complete in year 11. The is also an estimated 418 Million Dollars in Regional Economic Impact expected with the project as part of the Texas Tech Wind Research Facility as they will expand as part of this project.
This wind farm project is funded and developed by Red Raider Wind LLC which is a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy.