A multinational retail conglomerate whose name is synonymous with home furnishing has gotten into the wind energy business in Cameron County.
The IKEA Group, based in The Netherlands, announced Nov. 18 that it had purchased Cameron Wind: a 165-megawatt wind farm being developed on 15,000 acres of farmland roughly 11 miles north of Brownsville.IKEA bought the project from the developer, Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Apex will build and manage the wind farm, which will consist of 55 3-megawatt turbines manufactured by the Spanish company Acciona Windpower.
The sale won’t affect a tax break incentive granted to Apex by the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District that will limit the project’s assessed property value to $10 million for eight years, beginning with the 2016-17 school year. The project’s full value — estimated at nearly $254 million — will appear on tax rolls in 2015-16. Apex says the project will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the district and the county, and that the total direct financial impact on the region likely will exceed $46.7 million over 25 years.
According to a financial impact report commissioned by the district, despite the $10 million value limitation “the fully taxable value of the project would be assessed for debt-service taxes on voter-approved bond issues throughout the limitation period.” The report estimates that the potential net tax benefits to the district could be as high as $16.2 million over the life of the agreement, and concluded that the wind farm will enhance the district’s tax base in meeting future debt-service obligations — especially in 2015-16 when the project value first appears on the local tax roll.
Steve Clark