Benton County Tax Revenue
The Horse Heaven Wind Farm represents significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending, and annual community investment. According to an extensive economic impact analysis recently conducted by TetraTech, the project would generate almost $20 million in property tax revenues during the first full year of operation. Over the 35-year operating life of the project, the clean energy facility will pay around $260 million in total property tax. These fees will be paid to Benton County, and under current allocations, the largest proportion of those funds would support local schools. Read the full report.
Construction & Permanent Job Growth
Constructing wind farms requires the efforts of many skilled construction workers, from building local access roads and foundations to support the turbines, to crane operators that erect the turbines and electricians who connect the facility to the power grid. Once the facility is operational, wind turbine service technicians inspect turbines and provide regular maintenance. The Horse Heaven Wind Farm will result in approximately 930 temporary construction jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) and 56 long-term family-wage permanent positions (direct, indirect, and induced) once the facility begins operation.
Wind is a renewable energy source, and wind power has some of the lowest environmental impacts of any source of electricity generation. Unlike conventional sources, wind power has no carbon emissions, uses no water, and doesn't create smog that triggers asthma attacks. Wind farms also leave the overwhelming majority of land they’re built on undisturbed.
Supporting Local Farmers
The Horse Heaven Wind Farm will be located on primarily private, cultivated land where most of area under lease is operated as dry-land wheat farms. The project will co-exist well with agricultural uses in the area, allowing farmers to continue growing crops while generating additional revenue from the turbines. In fact, each turbine and associated access roads removes only about a half-acre from agricultural production. Participating in the project offers farmers diversification and supplemental income, which ultimately supports long-term farm revenue and property ownership.
Building a Cleaner Future
Utilities across Washington State seek to use renewable energy for their electricity needs, and businesses are also increasing their commitment to renewable power. In 2019 the state enacted a law that commits Washington to an electricity supply free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. As part of this directive, coal plants in the Pacific Northwest will be retired, creating a regional capacity shortfall.
Flexibility & Diversity
The Horse Heaven project will contribute to a diverse energy market that is affordable, reliable and meets the needs of Washington businesses and communities. To operate reliably, our power grid requires energy, capacity, and flexibility. Portfolio diversity is the key to a reliable power system, as no resource is available 100% of the time and all power plants are dependent on all others to back them up. Wind energy fits well into this mix as a low-cost source of energy, offering capacity and flexibility to alleviate extreme winter price swings and help keep the lights on.