Renewable energy is giving smaller communities a boost – this is especially the case for The Tehachapi Pass and Benton County, CNBC reports.
This past spring, Amazon announced that one of its three new wind farm projects will be built in southern California in the Tehachapi Mountains, which houses 12,000 people. The wind farms are another step the tech giant is taking to become carbon neutral by 2040, and run on 100 percent renewables by 2030. The mountain range currently houses one of the world’s largest wind turbine farms, featuring around 4,700 turbines that produce about 3,200 megawatts of electricity.
According to CNBC, outside contractors come to work on the wind turbines, and end up staying in Tehachapi’s hotels and eating at its restaurants, ultimately boost ing the economy of the small community. Additionally, the new wind turbine farm could bring in at least 50 new jobs.
“The wind farms have generated quite a number of very good technical, good-paying jobs that can sustain a family and the employers have benefits,” Pro-Tem Smith, mayor of Tehachapi, told CNBC. “So the people in the workforce can look forward to actually a career in the industry if they want, and the pay is good enough where they can afford a home and stay here.”
Similar to the Southern Californian town, Benton County of Indiana, which has a population of 8,700, is home to multiple wind projects. The county has seen a boom in projects over the past decade, which includes electricity needs for an Amazon Web Services data center. This center was the first major renewables project for Pattern Energy in 2016.
The project is expected to make $5 million in economic development payments to Benton County over the course of 17 years, CNBC says. It is also entitled to 100 percent property tax abatements for a 10-year period; tax revenue for the area will also be generated. Past tax revenue has gone towards schools, medical services, new roads, and other expenses.
“Wind…provide[s] a really important additional value and way to maintain the communities that are struggling in rural America, and have the potential to bring technical jobs and new sources of revenue and income to help support these communities during the energy transition,” Stephen Abbott, a city renewables accelerator manager at Rocky Mountain Institute told CNBC.