Project could mean millions for tax districts

PUMPED ABOUT ENERGY: The proposed pumped storage energy project is edging closer to reality. There's a public meeting about it on May 1 at the Goldendale Grange. If it happens, it could millions of dollars to almost every Goldendale-area tax district.

At a meeting next Wednesday, May 1, you can learn how tax districts around Goldendale could stand to gain millions of dollars. For almost each district.

The meeting is about the proposed pumped storage energy project at the site of the one-time aluminum plant off Highway 14. It has attracted the attention of major players in energy and politics, and now promoters want the general public to weigh in. The meeting on May 1 is at 7 p.m. at the Goldendale Grange hall.

A big feature of the project, and the meeting, is how much money tax districts could make once the pumped storage project gets rolling. According to figures from the Klickitat County Assessor as of April 18 this year, here's what the tax revenue figures show as potential revenues:

• County general: $2,601,249

• County road: $3,221,685

• Goldendale School District: $3,000,000

• EMS: $1,000,000

• Klickitat County Hospital: $1,230,566

• Fire 7: $1,692,540

• Library: $727,160

• Rec District 1: $540,000

That's a total of $14,013,201. The revenue would be a result of a $2 billion project that would take between three and five years of construction and create some 3,000 construction jobs, generating $366 million in wages.

"It'd be like the wind construction boom all over again," says Goldendale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana Peck, who is principally involved in helping the project happen.

The pumped storage project is a renewable energy plan to generate power on demand by using two reservoirs, one at the site of the old aluminum plant and one on the plateau high above it. Water could be pumped up the high reservoir then released back down to the lower one, generating power as it moves through turbines on the way down.