Wind Project in Martin County On Hold

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MARTIN CO.-The volatile economy and a need for electrical transmission lines knocked the wind out of a multi-million dollar wind energy project in Martin County, at least in the short term.
"We're looking at three or four years," Martin County Treasurer, Butch Howard, said. "All the paperwork has already been done."

Howard says the Lenorah project, will add at least one hundred more wind turbines to Martin County, but was originally contracted to add double that number and start construction in November of 2009.

"They've got everything locked in to go, when they get ready to go," Howard said.

Howard says the County granted Wind Tex Energy an extension until January 1, 2009.

"We're fortunate they did keep this one. They will do this," Howard said. "They cancelled a lot of projects."

Steven DeWolf, co-founder and managing partner of Wind Tex Energy tells NewsWest 9 the company hasn't cut projects, but plenty of other companies around the state have.

"Seems like when the domino effect starts on things, It's really hard to stop," Howard said.

Howard says Martin County relies on the taxes generated from oil but does receive some money from Wind Tex Energy. The County granted Wind Tex Energy a tax abatement on the original wind project and the Lenorah project for ten years.  Howard says the tax base may be oil, but with prices down the Lenorah project may come at a good time.

"It's not that far off," Howard said about the time left until 2013. "It could really come at a time when the funds are really needed."

In December, the Public Utilities Commission will choose a company to build new transmission lines from West Texas to large cities around the state.