TAFT, Texas — More than simply securing a cleaner energy, wind farms, are creating jobs, uplifting local economies, and supporting communities nationwide and right here in South Texas.
Most notably in rural parts of our counties like San Patricio County.
Just in the past few years, we went from seeing few windmills in Taft to seeing close to 200.
If you stand anywhere in Taft, you’ll see spinning turbine blades dotting the horizon in almost any direction you look. Many of the residents say they don’t mind the view. In fact, residents say those turbines are helping their city grow.
“Right off the bat is the upbeat and positive attitudes of the community coming together, with all the improvements in the city on the streets, sidewalk improvements, the development coming in and around our area,” said Taft resident Johnny Carver.
“You go between Ingleside and Mathis, we are looking at about 60-90 billion dollars of industry growth, and there are key factors. A lot of young kids are graduating and leaving Taft because there is no work here, but now they are able to come back to Taft because the demand is here in San Patricio,” said Mayor of Taft Pedro Lopez.
Since the Papalote Creek Wind farms moved into Taft back in 2006, they have paid more than $48 million combined in county and school district taxes.
They have also paid more than $33 million in payments to landowners.
“And now we are seeing change. All these landowners, now you see them, and they are making money, you know, with the wind farms, and now you have the pipeline as well. There is some money to be made in San Patricio County,” said Lopez.
“Especially for our aging landowners, it gave them something, a positive income. It helps keep some of them in nursing homes and assisted living,”said Craver.
These wind farms are helping everybody in Taft. Anna Rocha, owner of Mi Ranchito Restaurant said she has had so much business, it has forced her to grow.
“Business has been really good. The restaurant has been here since the 1950’s. Anna has been able to expand it, renovate it. We need more employees, and she is looking to renovate the inside as well. Mi Ranchito is really growing here in Taft,” said Mi Ranchito employee Jessica Castillo.
Right now the city of Taft is in negotiation with private investors that want to come build in Taft so they are looking at almost 800 homes to be built in the next few years.
Increased tax revenue from wind energy projects also allows small, rural towns to invest in infrastructure improvement, fund police, firefighters, and other emergency first responders, and keep taxes as low.