Nueces County has made changes to its existing tax abatements guidelines in order to remain competitive for new industrial business.

The amendment was unanimously approved at a Feb. 6 Commissioners Court meeting after an Austin-based energy group said it was looking to invest about $1 billion for the redevelopment of two Corpus Christi power plants.

Topaz Power Group is considering spending about $500 million each for the renovation of the Nueces Bay and Barney M. Davis power plants.

The new tax abatements guidelines state if a project provides at least $500 million in new capital investment, as determined by the tax appraisal district, and at least 20 net new full-time jobs, there will be a 100 percent abatement during the construction period.

However, that period cannot exceed two years. Also, for five years after the construction period, there will be 70 percent abatements annually.

According to the Greater Lafayette Progress, tax abatement is a tool for local governments to expand the economy.

By encouraging new investment, tax abatement can increase or maintain the basic employment in the community, encourage redevelopment of deteriorated areas, and/or stimulate investment in specific areas of a community.

Tax abatement is one of the primary incentives available to local government to promote economic development.

County Judge Loyd Neal said a change in the county's tax abatement guidelines and criteria was needed in order to be successful in attracting new business.

"For us to be competitive for large corporate investments, then we needed to take a look at our previous (tax) abatements system," Neal said.