Underwood Helps Bring Ralls Wind Farm to Fruition

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Sany Electric commissioned the Ralls Wind Farm near the city of Ralls in Crosby County, Texas on Friday, July 29, 2011.  The ten-megawatt Ralls Wind Farm consists of five two-megawatt turbines and is the first instance of Chinese turbines being built and operated in the United States.  The Ralls Wind Farm is expected to serve as a showpiece of Sany turbine technology.

The Sany turbines towering over the West Texas landscape are the result of hundreds of hours of planning and preparation by lawyers, investors, manufacturers, and construction specialists.  The Underwood Law Firm assisted in the development effort by lending its expertise in the tax abatement process of Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code.  That abatement, which involves municipal taxing entities, proved invaluable in the economic viability of the Ralls Wind Farm.

In addition to tax abatements under Chapter 312, the State of Texas also provides tax incentives for clean-energy projects under Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code.  Chapter 313 affords development incentives through school taxes rather than municipal taxes, as in Chapter 312.  Because of the size of the farm and certain elements involved in Chapter 313 limitations, a limitation agreement was not pursued for the Ralls Wind Farm.

The use and benefits of the various Texas tax incentive programs are only some of the considerations to be weighed in wind development.  Careful planning involving incentive details and construction timing is required to maximize the benefits of abatements under Chapter 312 and limitations under Chapter 313.  The Ralls Wind Farm is an example of the successes that may be realized through such planning in wind development – even if those efforts aren’t as obvious as the final product.

The turbines that comprise the Ralls Wind Farm are manufactured by Sany and are the first Chinese turbines built and operated in the United States.

Crosby County Judge David Wigley and Ralls Mayor D’Ann Lindley Reynolds participate in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on July 29, 2011.

More pictures of the construction and commissioning of the Ralls Wind Farm can be viewed at http://www.mgcvideos.com/ralls_wind_farm.html.

This column is published for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

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