Department of Ecology News Release - January 13, 2021

Ecology launches environmental review of proposed pumped storage energy project near Goldendale

Public input needed to shape the scope of the environmental study


The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking comment on what should be considered when preparing an environmental impact statement for a new hydropower project proposed along the Columbia River in Klickitat County.

Upper reservoir on the crest of a hill and lower reservoir at base of hill next to river

Upper and lower reservoirs are proposed to generate hydropower in a closed loop system above the John Day Dam.

Free Flow Power Project 101, LLC (FFP Project), is proposing to build a closed-loop water storage system that releases water from an upper reservoir downhill to a lower reservoir to generate energy. The power produced would feed into the electrical grid at nearby John Day Dam.

The lower reservior would be located on a portion of the former Columbia Gorge Aluminum smelter site. Water for the project would be drawn from the Columbia River under a permit that once served the aluminum plant. Project plans call for the lower reservoir to be filled once, with supplemental fills annually.

Ecology is asking community members, stakeholders, tribes and others to weigh in on what should be studied in the scope of a full EIS for the Goldendale Pumped Storage Energy Project, including  project alternatives, site impacts and what types of mitigation should be considered.

Scoping comments will be accepted through Feb. 12, 2021, and may be made online or in writing to Sage Park, Washington Department of Ecology, 1250 West Alder Street, Union Gap, WA 98903-0009, Attn: Goldendale Scoping.

People can learn more about the project, and make formal comments on the scope of the project during two online meetings:

More information about the meetings and the project documents can be found on the project website.

The EIS will examine possible significant and adverse impacts resulting from the construction and operation of the proposed project. This includes impacts to both the natural environment and nearby communities through study of air quality, plant and animal habitat, transportation, water and cultural resources.
The EIS also will analyze how impacts can be reduced or eliminated through mitigation. A draft EIS is expected to be available for public review and comment sometime in 2022.
An EIS is an impartial, comprehensive study used as a resource for decision-makers and the public.

Contact information

Joye Redfield-Wilder
Communications Manager
Twitter: EcyCentral