Study focuses on wind impact
The proposed 80-megawatt Broad Mountain Wind Project will generate $93 million in economic activity in Carbon County during construction while supporting 270 direct, indirect and induced jobs with $6 million in earnings, according to a new study by Econsult Solutions Inc., which evaluates the economic and fiscal outcomes of developments.
Beyond the one-time economic impacts from construction, direct operating expenditures at Broad Mountain upon completion will generate an estimated $3.1 million annually within Pennsylvania, with $2.7 million of that total occurring in Carbon County, the study reports.
The wind farm’s operation also will yield increases in state and local tax bases.
“The economic benefits of wind energy are widely known,” said project manager Rob Miller. “What this study does is help us quantify more clearly exactly how the host communities and those around the project will benefit. Our goal is to ensure that communities realize the full economic benefits of wind energy, not just in the short term but over the long term as well.”
The Carbon County portion represents the largest portion of economic activity.
Overall, the project will generate $128 million for Pennsylvania and support 420 annualized jobs with $16 million in earnings over the construction period because of spillover effects that stimulate business activity and support increased employment across a variety of sectors in the state.
Construction also will generate one-time income, sales and business taxes to Pennsylvania totaling approximately $1.9 million from the direct, indirect and induced economic activity.
There are sustained, lasting benefits beyond construction, according to the study.
Each year, the direct operating expenditures at Broad Mountain will generate an estimated $3.1 million in economic impact within Pennsylvania and support 10 jobs with $1 million in earnings. Of this total impact, $2.7 million will occur in Carbon County.
The increases in economic output and employment associated with the wind farm’s operations also yield increases in state and local tax bases, with $57,000 annually to the state in income, sales and business taxes.
In addition to taxes generated for Pennsylvania, approximately $100,900 in property tax revenues will be paid to local jurisdictions.
Each year, $82,100 in property taxes will go to Weatherly School District, $17,760 to Carbon County, and $1,040 to Packer Township.
“This is a clear example of how wind projects like this generate long-term, predictable revenue streams for municipalities and schools through tax revenues,” Miller said. “It shows how environmental protection and economic growth go hand in hand.”
The study also explored the added benefits of a community host agreement where the developer works with the municipality to provide additional compensation related to the location and operation of the wind farm within its borders. Based on the model provided, Packer Township could receive nearly $80,000 per year.
In February, Broad Mountain proposed a “Host Community Benefits Agreement” to Packer Township based on the model incorporated in this study. No action has been taken to date.
The Broad Mountain Wind Project features 21 turbines in Packer Township, Carbon County, and related transmission line access in Nesquehoning borough.
Construction cost is expected to be between $145 million and $165 million, including the purchase of the turbines, construction, development fees, and other associated construction costs. Upon completion, the project will produce enough clean electricity to power about 25,000 homes a year.
The full report is available at www.broadmountainwindproject.com, under “Project Summary” and “Industry Information.”
The next hearing is 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Weatherly Area High School.