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Nov 30, 2019

Bain: Wind power is something special for Oldham County

Amarillo Globe-News | November 30, 2019

Here in Oldham County, we are proud of our Route 66 heritage, right down to our county slogan, “When you’re here, you’re halfway there!”

But if you’ve driven through our county recently, you may have noticed more than acres of ranches and farms – wind turbines are now dotting our wide-open landscape. And not by any sort of accident – The wind farms in our area, Wildorado Wind Ranch and Spinning Spur Wind Farm, have brought well-paying jobs, income for our ranchers and farmers, and economic growth to our small corner of West Texas.

Most importantly, the economic growth these wind farms bring is helping us preserve our proud ranching heritage for generations to come. We have a proud cowboy history in Oldham County – with the likes of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett once traversing the land. But as many know, new highways and harsh weather can make it tough to just get by.

But thanks to these wind farms, our county has seen a significant boost to our economy, and has kept many of our ranchers in business. When a wind turbine is put on a landowners property, they have an agreement to receive a payment, which has typically amounted to $20,000 a year per turbine for the landowner. By 2016, the 381 turbines installed in Oldham County had produced over $7.5 million in income for our landowners. This number has certainly increased as more wind turbines have been installed in the years since.

Both Wildorado and Spinning Spur have invested in our rural community by developing long-term economic engines that will benefit us for years to come. The estimated overall tax revenue that Oldham County will receive from these projects is upwards of $300 million.

Beyond spurring the economy, they are also producing a great amount of power for our region and state – the Spinning Spur 3 wind farm has the capability to power over 58,000 homes in Texas. Wildorado can power 56,000 homes. All just from continuing to leverage the free resource that Oldham County has to offer.

The wind industry has been a blessing for our special corner of West Texas, and we’d recommend keeping an eye on our slice of Route 66 for an opportunity to celebrate wind with us.

Keila Bain is director of the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce.