Klickitat County Gets Its Wind Back
Yakima Herald Republic
By Ross Courtney
In rural Klickitat County, wind farm construction is driving new employment in a place that’s struggled
for years after high paying jobs in timber and aluminum dried up.
…the wind farms will ultimately start an estimated 535 permanent jobs and generate nearly $15
million in annual property taxes.
The county is becoming the Northwest’s wind farm capital…they will have the capacity to produce
2,661 megawatts, enough to power potentially more than 1 million homes.
Windy Point and Windy Flats are the latest, and largest wind farms…they will be one of the largest
wind projects in the United States, according to developer Cannon Power Group of San Diego.
When complete next year, the wind farms will…have a capacity to generate 500 megawatts of
electricity, enough for up to 250,000 homes.
More than 150 workers are now building the two Cannon wind farms…As many as half of the workers
are from Klickitat County.
Some of the work is contracted to Goldendale firms, but the out of town companies also hire local
workers… For example, Herling Construction Inc. of Cherry Valley, Calif…has as about 50 employees.
About 75 percent are from Klickitat County.
(Mike) Canon, the county’s economic development director, said wind farms create an average of one
permanent job for every five megawatts…the farms have brought 154 permanent positions, mostly
technicians…pay(ing) $50,000 to $60,000 per year.
Columbia Gorge Community College has launched one year and two year training programs in wind
technology…There’s a plan to start surveying the labor needs of wind farm companies…
“They lost the timber industry and the aluminum, all within a very short time,” said Canon. “That’s
what this county is pulling itself out of with these wind farms.”
(To read the full story, go to: http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2009/03/21/03-22-09-windfarm)