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Duke, Wyoming reach settlement in property tax dispute

Duke Energy Corp. says it has reached a settlement with the Wyoming Department of Revenue over property value assessments for the company’s four wind farms in Wyoming.

The settlement means Charlotte-based Duke will pay $2.54 million to cover its 2010 property tax bill, instead of $2.77 million.

Duke had appealed the values assigned in 2009 to the wind farms.

Among other things, Duke took issue with the state’s including of wind turbines for the company’s Top of the World Windpower Project in the assessment. The turbines had not been delivered as of Dec. 31, 2009, Duke argued.

But because the Top of the World project was built and put into operation last year, Duke will pay property taxes on the turbines as part of its 2011 tax bill, which covers 2010.

Then-Gov. David David Freudenthal and the Department of Revenue approved the settlement in December, and adjustments have been made to the values that the state assigned to the wind farms in 2009, Duke said.

Duke said the Department of Revenue has also reduced the value of its 29-MW Happy Jack, 42-MW Silver Sage and 99-MW Campbell Hill wind farms.

The state also agreed to exclude from the 2010 property tax valuation funds set aside by Duke to retire the wind farms once they reach the end of their life span.

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