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Chinese money coming to Klickitat County?

KPUD renews application process for pumped storage project

UPS AND DOWNS: The KPUD's proposed pumped storage project is back on, now that a Chinese megacorporation has said it will put funding into the project.

A Chinese hydropower company valued at $70 billion is looking to partner with Klickitat PUD (KPUD) on its plan to build a pumped storage facility, the Yakima Herald reports.

HydroChina Corporation, part of the enormous government-owned PowerChina, wants to put its resources behind the project, though it still needs Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of an extension of the KPUD permit that expired at the end of October. The project sank into financial limbo when the KPUD put it on hold in the face of recalcitrant backing. With the Chinese interest, the KPUD has renewed its application process to FERC.

HydroChina's American subsidiary HCI Development LLC signed a memorandum of understanding with the KPUD last month. This comes on the heels of another private company also seeking to undertake the project. A former consultant for the KPUD, Nathan Sandvig, founded a new company that has filed a permit request to FERC for the same project, the Herald reports. Presently the KPUD considers the project still most likely will proceed under federal guidelines and sees no competitive threat from a private company.

The pumped storage project would be built near the former aluminum plant and be used to pump water up to huge storage tanks on a nearby bluff. The water could then be released as needed to generate supplemental hydroelectric energy. The cost of the project is estimated to be close to $2.5 billion. HydroChina has said it will contribute to the project's funding, though no precise figures have been mentioned.


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