Horse Heaven Wind Farm Submits Application to State Board
CONTACT: Javon Smith
Clean energy project will generate jobs and tax revenue for Tri-Cities region
February 8, 2021, Benton County, WA – Scout Clean Energy (“Scout”), today filed an application for site certification through Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). The proposed renewable energy facility would combine wind energy, solar energy and battery energy storage in the same location, in an area just south of the Tri-Cities in Benton County, Washington.
“We are excited to formally submit our application, bringing the project one step closer to becoming a reality and helping Washington and the Pacific Northwest reach their clean energy goals,” said Michael Rucker, CEO of Scout Clean Energy. “But this project will do more than generate clean, affordable energy for homes and businesses,” Rucker added. “the economic infusion to the local community includes well-paying jobs and sizable property tax revenues to Benton County.”
Private development will generate economic windfall
As part of the state review process, the developer was required to complete an extensive economic impact analysis. The study, conducted by TetraTech, found that full build-out of the project will create roughly 1,000 jobs during the construction period. The project is planned to be built in two phases and 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.
Why here and now?
Since announcing the project in early 2020, Scout has been sharing information through a variety of sources, including social media and small group presentations.
“Getting out in the community to talk with neighbors has been challenging due to current gathering restrictions in Washington. We’ve had to get creative to understand the issues of greatest interest and importance to the local community,” said Kobus, the Horse Heaven Project Manager.
“In dialogue with residents, we find that most concerns raised are alleviated with facts. A lot of our work is dispelling popular myths about wind energy,” Kobus added. “Adding to the confusion is old data – for example reports from 10-20 years ago that are no longer accurate in respect to the cost and efficiency of wind turbines.” Kobus went on to describe the biggest misconception his team faces; that the region has abundant power resources. “The Northwest was capacity-rich for decades, in terms of energy resources. Unfortunately, that’s just no longer the case,” said Kobus.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council reports that the Pacific Northwest region will be facing a huge resource gap over the next decade, when more than 4,400 MW of coal-fired and hydroelectric power generation will be retired. On top of that, demand in the region is expected to grow at a rate of 0.5% annually.
“There is a rapidly growing appetite for affordable clean energy, and Scout’s Horse Heaven project is poised to help meet that demand,” added Kobus.
State board ensures public involvement and thorough environmental review
EFSEC is the state board charged with the siting of major energy facilities, and will review the application for environmental, social and fiscal impacts. According to Kobus, “EFSEC provides a "one-stop" siting process for major energy facilities and will ensure robust public involvement opportunities that match or exceed the local permitting process.”
“Through our conversations with Benton County representatives, it became clear that an application of this scale and scope would create a burden on staff and strain limited local resources,” added Kobus. The EFSEC process provides for participation by Benton County, who will also review the application for consistency with local land use and zoning laws. Project details will be available on the EFSEC website at https://www.efsec.wa.gov/energy-facilities.
Application milestone moves project closer to finish line
Project development began in late-2016 in the form of leasing, land acquisition and environmental surveys which was conducted by both Scout Clean Energy and wpd wind projects Inc., a Portland, Oregon-based wind energy developer. Scout recently acquired an additional interconnection queue position, which will enable the company to scale up to 1150 MW of wind, solar and battery power. Scout and wpd continue to cooperate in the development of the Horse Heaven project.
After more than three years of environmental studies and project engineering, the project has evolved into a hybrid facility that will combine renewable technologies. According to Kobus, “Combining wind, solar and battery storage systems at one location helps to mitigate one of the biggest disadvantages of renewable power: variability. Hybrid renewable projects can enhance grid reliability and provide affordable, carbon-free energy.”
About Scout Clean Energy
Scout Clean Energy is a leading US renewable energy developer, owner, and operator headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. Scout is developing a portfolio of over 5,000 MW of wind, solar and energy storage projects across 13 US states. Scout is an owner-operator portfolio company of Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners with expertise in all aspects of renewable power project development, permitting, power marketing, finance, construction, and asset management.
Made up of renewable energy industry veterans who are making a difference in our world, our team’s work ethic is second to none. We identify problems, create solutions, and deliver them professionally to our customers, stakeholders, partners, and one another. We do the right thing when no one is looking because we are committed to our collective success and because we believe that our uncompromising integrity is key to the collaborative relationships that drive our business. https://scoutcleanenergy.com
About Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners
Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners is a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on lower carbon and renewable energy infrastructure investment and operational asset management in the US, UK, and Australia. Quinbrook is led and managed by a senior team of power industry professionals who have collectively invested over US $8 billion in energy infrastructure assets since the early 1990's, representing a total enterprise value of US $28.7 billion or 19.5 GW of power supply capacity. Quinbrook's investment and asset management team has offices in Houston, London, Jersey, and the Gold Coast of Australia. Quinbrook has completed a diverse range of direct investments in both utility and distributed scale wind power, solar PV, peaking power and grid support, biomass, battery storage and ‘micro-grid’ installations in the US, UK, and Australia.