TUNICA - Plans and particulars of the state’s first windfarm were unveiled Wednesday in Dundee.
Public Service Commissioners from all three districts, company representatives, and local officials took part in the event Public Service Commissioners Brandon Presley, Brent Bailey and Dane Maxwell ceremoniously signed the orders approving Mississippi’s first wind turbine electricity generation facility just north of the Coahoma County line and just off Highway 61, Wednesday, June 9.
Lawmakers announced earlier this spring a $250-million wind farm is planned for Tunica County. At the same time they announced a $140-million to $160-million solar farm for Chickasaw County.
The state Senate approved allowing the local counties to provide tax breaks for the projects.
The Tunica project, Tunica Wind Power LLC, would be the state’s first wind farm, state Northern Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said noting this is a private company that is making the investment and he feels sure more windfarms will come to the Mississipp Delta.
The Chickasaw solar farm would be that county’s third one, and several others are operating across the state.
With recent wind-power debate from widespread power outages in Texas, Presley has said the projects would only sell power wholesale to the Tennessee Valley Authority or nationally, not directly to any customers.
“(The wind farm) will have 100 wind turbines on 13,000 acres in Tunica, be a 200-megawatt facility, able to power at max capacity 7,000 homes,” Presley said. “In light of what we’ve seen in Texas, we will be asking them about their winterization efforts.”
Lawmakers provided few specific details about the projects prior to approving the tax breaks. The state Senate approved SB 2895, which would allow the two counties’ boards of supervisors to reduce the ad valorem tax assessment on property for the projects from 15-percent to 8-percent.
Senate Finance Chairman Josh Harkins said this would allow the counties to be “competitive” with areas in other states and help finalize the projects.
Sen. Benjamin Suber, R-Bruce, who represents the area for the Chickasaw project, said that the 1,100-acre property now only generates about $5,000 a year in ad valorem taxes for the county.
Even with the approved tax value reduction, Suber said it is expected to generate more than $800,000 a year for the county. He noted no state or other taxes would be affected by the bill the Senate passed.