Denmark's Ørsted Proposes Wind Farm in Bee County

Mon June 15, 2020 - West Edition #13
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Orsted plans to begin construction on the Helena Wind project in March 2021, to be completed in second quarter 2022.
Orsted plans to begin construction on the Helena Wind project in March 2021, to be completed in second quarter 2022.

A U.S. subsidiary of Denmark's largest energy company is proposing a 60-turbine, $295 million wind farm in Bee County.

Ørsted plans to begin construction on the Helena Wind project in March 2021, to be completed in second quarter 2022, according to a tax abatement request it submitted to the Bee County Commissioners Court on Feb. 10.

The company, which has U.S. offices in Chicago and Austin, plans to build on 25,000 acres being used as farmland. Aside from the 60 turbines capable of producing 252 megawatts of power, Ørsted plans to build access roads, an operations and maintenance building, a substation, meteorological towers, underground electrical cables and an overhead transmission line on the property.

Ørsted is looking to waive 54 percent of its tax liability to Bee County for the first 10 years that the project is operational. The agreement, if approved by Bee County commissioners, would amount to a $3.8 million savings for the company. Ørsted told the commissioners that the project is expected to bring $21.7 million in economic benefits to the county over its expected 30-year lifetime.

At the height of construction, 200 construction workers are expected to be employed with five full-time jobs expected to be created to maintain and operate the farm once it is finished, the company told the county. Ørsted is committing to paying each of the five employees at least $50,000 per year, according to documents it filed with the Pawnee Independent School District.

"Our nation is in the midst of an energy transformation and Texas is leading the charge," the Helena website said. "Bee County has an opportunity not only to participate in this energy revolution, but to reap the economic benefits."

Located across 20,000 acres in northern Bee County, the 250 MW Helena Wind Project will have the capacity to generate enough electricity to supply an estimated 90,000 homes each year. Project wind turbines will be sited on private land; because the towers take up less than 1 percent of the total land area, ranchers and farmers can continue their operations.

The Helena Wind project expands upon roughly 1,000 megawatts of wind projects developed by Ørsted across Texas. Ørsted is one of the world's largest energy companies and has proven financial strength and access to resources for development of projects.