Construction is expected to begin this summer on the Desert Claim wind project and will last approximately a year, according to enXco. Gov. Christine Gregoire, D-Wash., recently approved the $330 million project, which is being built by enXco.
Desert Claim would be located on 5,200 acres about eight miles northwest of Ellensburg. The project would have 95 turbines with the capacity to generate 190 MW.
enXco says the Desert Claim is projected to generate 282 new jobs and $33 million in total economic activity statewide during construction, according to a study by ECONorthwest. A total of 160 of those jobs and $17.3 million in economic activity will be in Kittitas County, according to a study by Central Washington University (CWU) economics professors.
The economic benefits would continue once Desert Claim begins operation, according to enXco. The project would support an estimated 36 jobs and $6.2 million annually in statewide economic activity, the ECONorthwest study found. Up to 25 local jobs and $2.8 million in annual new total economic activity would be in Kittitas County, according to the CWU study.
Washington's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council's gave the project a unanimously favorable recommendation to Gregoire in November 2009. enXco is a partner in the Central Washington Energy Resource Collaborative Innovation Partnership Zone that the state approved last fall for Kittitas County.