Department of Ecology News Release - December 21, 2022

Ecology completes environmental review for proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project

This illustration shows the upper and lower reservoirs proposed to generate electricity adjacent to the John Day Dam on the Columbia River.


The Washington Department of Ecology has completed an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project. The comprehensive, science-based EIS will now be used by permitting agencies as they make decisions on permits needed for the project.

The proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project, developed by Free Flow Power Project 101, LLC, would be a closed-loop hydropower system along the Columbia River in Klickitat County.

Water released from an upper reservoir would flow downhill to a lower reservoir through a turbine, generating power when other energy sources, such as wind and solar, are not available. At other times, those renewable energy sources would be used to pump water back uphill during off-peak hours. The power produced would feed into the electrical grid at the nearby John Day Dam.

Ecology’s final EIS examines potential significant, adverse impacts if the project is built and whether they can be reduced or eliminated. These include impacts to air quality, plant and animal habitat, transportation, water resources, and water quality. The analysis also includes a section evaluating impacts to Tribal and cultural resources in the area.

Ecology released a draft EIS and held a public comment period from June 6 to Aug. 9, 2022. The agency hosted one in-person and two virtual public hearings during this time.

Under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act, an EIS is required before issuing any permits to construct and operate the facility. It does not determine whether a project moves forward.

Ecology now has several permit decisions to make, including a water quality certification, a reservoir permit, and a construction permit. These decisions will happen over the next two years as project details are finalized.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is conducting a separate federal environmental review of the project.

Learn more about the Goldendale Energy Storage Project and the final EIS on Ecology's website.

Contact information

Emily Tasaka
Twitter: EcyCentral
Ryan Miller