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Gilliam County Court denies tax abatement extension for Montague Solar

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The Montague Solar Facility boundary in Gilliam County (blue outline).

The Gilliam County Court passed a motion to deny Montague Solar, LLC’s request for tax abatement in years four and five of the Montague Solar project during the July 7 session.  

The Rural Renewable Energy Development (RRED) zone approved by the Gilliam County Court on January 6 granted Montague Solar, LLC a three-year property tax exemption with the possibility of additional tax abatement in years four and five of the project. Gilliam County Commissioner Pat Shannon’s motion to deny the additional tax abatement was carried. 

“It’s hard to swallow taking that much tax loss in years four and five,” Shannon said. Construction of the 162-megawatt solar facility that occupies 1,189 acres of farmland in Gilliam County began this March. 

Brian Walsh, director of business development at Avangrid Renewables, said that tax abatement programs are important for the financial viability of projects such as the Montague solar facility. Rising costs of materials and a scarcity of skilled laborers willing to travel to projects in rural towns with little available housing is making the project more expensive, Walsh said during court proceedings. 

Montague Solar, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, LLC. The parent company of Avangrid Renewables, Iberdrola, is a Spanish multinational electric utility company worth $148 billion. 

Gilliam County Judge Elizabeth Farrar-Campbell previously told the Times-Journal that tax incentives for the large solar project aren’t necessary to keep them in the county. 

“Every indication is that Avangrid will be building Montague 2 regardless as they have already invested millions in permitting the project, lined up construction logistics, and even sold the energy to PGE,” Farrar-Campbell said. 

You can read more about the RRED zone and Avangrid Renewables in previous Times-Journal coverage

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