Letter to the Editor – Samuel Davis, Texas Land & Liberty Coalition
On behalf of the Texas Land & Liberty Coalition (TXLLC), I write in support of the Rio Lago Solar Project being proposed in Bandera County. TXLLC is an alliance of landowners, farmers, ranchers, community leaders, economic development supporters and clean energy advocates working together to bring about responsible renewable energy development in Texas. We are strong proponents of private property rights and believe that Texas landowners are entitled to develop their own property as they best see fit.
Projects like this one are powering, transforming, and improving rural economies as local citizens benefit from the jobs, economic impact, and tax revenue generated by these developments. A recent study conducted by Dr. Joshua Rhodes, an energy economist at the University of Texas at Austin, highlights the impact of renewable energy on rural Texas economies and found that the current fleet of all utility-scale wind and solar projects in Texas will generate $4.7 to $5.7 billion in new tax revenue to local governments and taxing jurisdictions.
County residents stand to benefit tremendously from Rio Lago Solar. The new taxes generated from the $150 million investment will help diversify Bandera’s tax base with a more consistent and reliable revenue stream. In addition to contracting with local companies during construction, this project is also expected to bring 200 construction jobs along with it, a metric that has a multiplying effect on the surrounding region in terms of increased sales taxes, hotel/motel occupancy rates and other economic benefits.
I also want to commend Pine Gate Renewables for listening to feedback from residents and city leaders regarding the potential visual impacts of the project and making reasonable adjustments to the landscape plans, setback provisions and other aesthetic considerations. Their pledge of public transparency with the local community is laudable and the right thing to do.
The Rio Lago Solar Project presents a wonderful opportunity to harvest the power of the sun, generate clean and reliable energy for fellow Texans, and provide an economic impact to the local community.
Samuel Davis, Field Director
Texas Land & Liberty Coalition