Goldendale Mayor Mike Canon sent a letter last week to The Sentinel to advise about the status of the pumped storage energy project proposed to be built near Goldendale. Following is the complete text of his letter:
I am pleased to provide an update on the private sector-funded pumped storage facility being proposed at the site of the former Goldendale Aluminum Smelter. An application for an original construction and operational license (FLA) for the Goldendale Energy Storage Project was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 23, 2020. This local project will provide1,200 MW capacity of clean, renewable, carbon-free energy storage and assist with the cleanup of a portion of the former Goldendale Aluminum Smelter site. In particular, the FLA demonstrates that the Project will not cause any change to existing surface or groundwater flows or uses, nor will it adversely impact federally threatened or endangered species or their designated critical habitat. FERC and Ecology will begin their review of the project in 2021 and approvals to begin construction are expected in 2022/2023.
Klickitat County ranks fifth in U.S. county production capacity of wind and solar and third if you include the bistate region along the Mid-Columbia. Projects like the Goldendale Energy Storage Project are key to ensuring more renewable energy projects and associated investment is made in our community. The project will create more than 3,000 jobs during construction of the facility and approximately 100 local jobs during Project operation. Finally, as described in the FLA, based on economic modeling, the Goldendale Project could save regional ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually in cost savings and revenue because of its ability to provide reliable, carbon-free electric generation during times of peak demand, thus decreasing the need to curtail solar and wind generation, as well as its unique ability to provide grid-level energy storage.
This project is being developed solely by private sector developers, who are experienced in hydroelectric project permitting and licensing and development. There is no intent or expectation that Federal, State, or Local tax dollars will be used in the construction of the project. This project will be a payer, not recipient, of tax dollars. The license application included an economic impact study which showed the project would pay in excess of 20 million dollars per year in additional tax revenue to Klickitat County and its junior taxing districts once in operation. Customers of the project are likely to be some combination of wind and solar project owners as well as investor and consumer owned utilities in need of the services this project can provide as we move forward to a more renewable energy based economy.
Due to the importance of this private sector energy project to Klickitat County residents and our city of Goldendale, I felt the facts need to be clearly understood by all. Thank you, sincerely.
Michael Canon, Mayor
City of Goldendale