New Report on Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center Highlights Projected Economic Benefits for Benton County and Franklin County

Last winter, an economic impact study conducted by Tetra Tech found that an estimated $70.6 million in economic output could be generated in the first phase of construction for the Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center. In August of this year, a follow-up report from High Peak Strategy examined the Tetra Tech findings with more detail and interpretation of those initial economic impact estimates.

The two studies combined underscore Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center’s economic return to the local community in the form of high-paying jobs, infrastructure development, and reinvestments back into vital services such as education, public safety, and public health.

The $70.6 million estimate encompasses the 458 jobs and $37 million in income – direct, indirect, and induced1 – the project is expected to support Benton County and Franklin County. Other findings from the original report, conducted in January of 2021, include:

  • The second phase of construction would support between 472 to 539 total jobs and approximately $37.6 million to $41.9 million in labor income, with total economic output of approximately $73.0 million to $85.7 million.
  • The project would generate almost $20 million in revenue back to the community following the year after phase two of construction. Over a 35-year period, more than $260 million would be invested back into the community. The largest proportion of these funds would support local schools.
  • During the first year of combined operations (both Phase one and two fully operational), an estimated $11.4 million in school-related property tax revenues would be generated, of which $6.2 million would go directly to local school districts.
  • Local revenues will also be raised for Fire Districts, which are critical to the health and safety of the community and increasingly strapped to support longer and harsher wildfire seasons. The January 2021 report includes additional findings which can be accessed via the links provided at the bottom of this post.

1 The direct impact consists of expenditures made specifically for the proposed facility, such as construction labor and materials. Indirect impacts, often referred to as “supply-chain” impacts, are generated by the expenditures on goods and services by suppliers who provide goods and services to the construction project. Induced impacts, referred to as “consumption-driven” impacts, are generated by the spending of households associated either directly or indirectly with the proposed facility.

Further analysis from High Peak Strategy in August 2021 examined the economic impact of the Horse Heaven project including comparisons of job opportunities, local incomes, and how revenue in the community could be applied.

Some key takeaways from this new report include:

  • During Horse Heaven’s phase 1 of construction, the average income per worker will be $113,500. That’s nearly 60% higher than the average regional compensation across industries, and 37% higher than the construction industry in Benton and Franklin Counties.
  • Over the course of Horse Heaven’s operations, the direct incomes will range from $88,900 to $90,900. Total jobs supported by the operations – including indirect and induced jobs – will support above-average incomes between $75,000 and $80,800 per worker.
  • In the first 12 months following the combined completion of phase 1 and 2 of the Horse Heaven project, funds back into local schools could pay for 80 Kindergarten teachers, 74 elementary school teachers, or 68 middle school teachers.
  • Additionally, in that same time frame, revenues generated for the community could support 67 firefighters, and either 11 registered nurses or 11 police officers.

With the jobs, economic activity, and reinvested revenue, combined with direct payments to farmers and landowners, the Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center is expected to generate significant economic benefits that will support communities in Benton and Franklin Counties at a time when additional resources are critically needed. As engaged members of the local community, Horse Heaven also proudly supports partnerships that promote the success of community benefit-oriented non-profits and local small businesses that work to make the region thrive.

For more information on the two economic reports referenced in this blog post, please access the links below:

Tetra Tech – Economic Impact Assessment of the Horse Heaven Wind Farm (January 2021)
High Peak Strategy – Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center Economic Analysis (August 2021)