July 12, 2019
Wind farm property tax valuation can be tricky from state to state, with some states relying on the cost to build less depreciation, some looking at the income, and some being schedule based. The state of Oklahoma has had trouble having a standardized methodology from county to county when valuing a renewable energy utility-scale facility.
Large renewable energy companies and House Representative Kevin West are planning to hold an August 1st meeting at the Oklahoma State Capitol in hopes to formulate a property tax valuation system for wind farms. Seeing that Oklahoma ranked #3 in the U.S. in 2018 for the largest wind-producing states, finding a methodology that helps the process is important.
Mark Yates, Vice President of the Advanced Power Alliance has been one of the large supporters of standardizing the valuation. Mr. Yates sent a letter to county commissioners saying, “Through no fault of our counties or the wind industry, the state of Oklahoma lacks consistency in its valuation methodology for these projects, this creates challenges for you, and for the companies who are bringing billions in investment to our state. Consistency and predictability are two things that would serve both of our groups well. As an industry, we stand ready to actively engage all stakeholders, especially each of you, in a process to define a reasonable and agreed upon methodology that will help all of us succeed.”
More Support from Politicians
Senator Bill Coleman is also in favor of a standardizing the process. “It does hurt the schools,” Mr. Coleman said of wind farm valuation lawsuits. “I think all parties need to get around the table and figure out a solution to it. Nobody is going to get their way 100 percent on everything, but not talking about it is not going to come up with a solution.”
Assessors Agree with the Standardization
County assessors are looking to get on the same page with the valuations, with 2 assessors so far planning to be in attendance. “We need to all come together with good ideas on how to fairly, equitably and uniformly value these (wind turbines) so we don’t have issues from county to county,” Donise Rogers who is the assessor of Major County said. “No one wants to be in lawsuits constantly battling over the values of any kind of property.” Ms. Rogers also serves as the County Assessor Association of Oklahoma President. Ms. Rogers also hopes that this could lay the groundwork for standardizing the solar fam valuation in the state as well.
Grant County Commissioner Cindy Bobbitt agreed. “A wind farm in Grant County ought to be worth the same amount of money as a wind farm in Custer County or Roger Mills County,” Bobbitt said.
Much of the controversy surrounding the facilities lie within the wind farm generation schedule the Oklahoma Tax Commission published earlier this year. The August 1st meeting will go a long way in determining how the counties handle the valuation as well as looking at re-vamping the Tax Commission schedules.