The Desert Claim Wind Power project would generate total economic activity of up to $17.3 million in Kittitas County, Wash., during the year in which it is built, a Central Washington University (CWU) study estimates.
Once completed and in operation, Desert Claim would generate $2.8 million in total economic activity in the county, the study also estimates.
The proposed Desert Claim wind farm would have 95 wind turbines and is expected to generate 190 MW of power. It is located about eight miles northwest of Ellensburg, on 5,200 acres of rural land crossed by three major transmission lines. enXco submitted a revised application to the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council last month.
The study estimates that construction of the project would create up to 160 new jobs in its first year and generate $3.6 million in payroll. Once in operation, the study found that Desert Claim would provide up to 25 new jobs and $970,000 in annual payroll. Half of the new jobs would be for workers directly employed on the project, while the other half would be jobs indirectly supported by Desert Claim.
In addition to new jobs and income, the study found Desert Claim would be a major source of new tax revenue. The project would generate estimated property tax revenues of more than $900,000 for local schools and services. Those tax revenues would provide new funding to the taxing districts in the project's first year and serve to reduce the millage rates for their levies in all subsequent years of operations.
enXco currently projects that its total investment to complete Desert Claim will be more than $330 million. The study's tax projections are based on an estimated property valuation of $155 million for Desert Claim after it is completed.
The study was commissioned and funded by enXco. It was conducted by professors in the Department of Economics at CWU.