Economic Impact

For more than 30 years, Energy Northwest has provided an economic and employment base that has helped sustain a robust Tri-Cities economy. Energy Northwest is an economic engine, supporting families and communities, principally in southeastern Washington. Energy Northwest generates approximately $500 million in overall sales of goods and services in the local community.
  • Refueling outages at Columbia create an employment boost. Every two years, Columbia shuts down to add new fuel to the reactor core. In order to do this successfully, Energy Northwest hires more than 1,800 temporary workers, many from surrounding communities. These short-term, well-paying jobs provide an important boost to the local economy.

  • Privilege taxes help local schools and libraries. Each year, Energy Northwest pays taxes for the privilege of generating electricity in the state of Washington. In 2012, Energy Northwest paid approximately $4.5 million in privilege taxes.

  • Columbia Generating Station is a powerful partner for local business. Each year, Energy Northwest spends more than $10 million with local businesses and governments. Our local partners range from engineering and construction firms to hotels and restaurants.
nuclear101.png Learn more about nuclear power

C-Bullet.jpg Quick Facts

Boiling water reactor (nuclear)
Approximately 1,190 megawatts (gross)
10 miles north of Richland, Wash.
Site Size:
~1,089 acres
Projected Levelized
Cost of Power

4.7 - 5.2 cents/kWh
Comparison Costs*: 
Natural Gas: 6 - 14 cents/kWh
Wind: 7 - 10 cents/kWh
Solar: 11 - 42 cents/kWh 
*Levelized costs according to the Energy Information Administration. Levelized cost represents the per kilowatt-hour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating levelized costs include overnight capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance costs, financing costs and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.

C-History.jpg History

Construction Permit Issued:
March 1973
NRC Issued Plant Operating License:
December 1983

Operating License Expiration:
December 2043

First Electricity Produced:
May 1984

Commercial Operation:
December 1984

First Refueling Completed:
April 1986