Avangrid makes first tax payments of $640K on wind farm
By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
HERTFORD — The county governments in Pasquotank and Perquimans have a combined $640,000 more in revenue to spend on pressing needs next year thanks to the wind farm that straddles the border of both counties.
Avangrid Renewables made its first property tax payments on the 104-turbine wind farm to both counties on Wednesday, presenting checks to county officials at an event at Amazon U.S. Wind Farm East’s operations center off Four Mile Desert Road.
Laura Beane, CEO of Avangrid Renewables, said the checks may be the first of 40 annual payments to the two counties. When the project was first planned, officials estimated the life of the wind farm at between 20 and 25 years. Thanks to newer technology, however, the wind farm may be operational far longer.
Perquimans received the largest share of the $640,000 — $380,000. That’s because it’s home to the wind farm’s operations/maintenance building and electrical substation. It also hosts 50 of the wind farm’s 104 turbines. Pasquotank County received a property tax check for $260,000.
The tax payments make Avangrid the largest single taxpayer in both counties, Beane said. In Pasquotank the figure exceeds the tax revenue the county receives from the Tanglewood development that includes Wal-Mart. In Perquimans County, the $380,000 is more than the combined tax payments of Albemarle Plantation, Albemarle Electric Membership and Weyerhaeuser, the timberlands owner and wood products maker.
All but two members of the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners attended Wednesday’s event. Absent were Commissioners Frankie Meads and Lloyd Griffin.
Pasquotank Manager Rodney Bunch said his board likely would use the $260,000 to fund existing commitments, like school needs. He also said the money could also help the county hold the line on property taxes.
Ed Muzzulin was the only Perquimans County commissioner to attend.
Also on hand for Wednesday’s event was Brenda Lassiter, executive director of the Perquimans Schools Foundation. For the past four years Avangrid has helped fund the foundation’s Water Turtles project. It teaches every kindergartner about water safety by giving them two weeks of swimming instruction at the YMCA in Elizabeth City.