By: Sarah Snyder
WARD COUNTY - The oil field slowdown has prompted one Basin city to re-think it's job creation strategy. On Wednesday morning, Monahans leaders kicked off the start of their wind energy plan with the first two turbines in the county.
If you've been down I-20 near Monahans lately, you may have noticed something different. Two wind turbines are powering the city's waste water treatment facility, but not only are they saving taxpayer's money, they're creating new opportunities.
"We want to diversify," Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth, said. "We want to bring in solar and wind. This is kind of one of those things we looked at and said, 'we need to get it over here.'"
With the oil and gas industry slowing down, Monahans leaders decided it was time for a change.
"We were looking at putting some wind turbines up and certainly this is a good location right along the Interstate," Mayor Cutbirth said.
As a matter of fact, they're the first wind turbines in Ward County.
"I think it shows that our city leaders are progressive and looking toward the future," Morse Haynes, Director of Economic Development, said. "Anytime the wind is blowing, we're saving money."
The city began construction on the $400,000 project in November, and now standing 120 feet tall, they'll give Ward County something it's needed for a long time.
"We know the wind blows out here, but to have data, you have to finance a specific project," Haynes said. "So I think these will help provide data to spur on other developers."
Right now, Monahans Economic Development is working with two other developers hoping to install large-scale wind projects.
"That information should lead to a lot, we're hoping thousands of these wind turbines will be put up in Ward County," Mayor Cutbirth said.
That means hundreds of new renewable energy maintenance and construction jobs.
"Monahans always tried to be progressive and do things that save money and benefit the community," Haynes said.