Wind industry boosts small town - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wind industry boosts small town

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DAYTON, Wash.—The people of the small town of Dayton have become a big resource for larger cities in Washington.  The wind industry is now a huge source of employment for people in Dayton.

Back in 2005, two wind power companies, Puget Sound Energy and Vestas, opened offices in Dayton, built wind farms and began providing power to 40,000 homes in Seattle. 

KNDU is told the companies came at a perfect time, because Seneca Foods, an asparagus canning company and Dayton's largest employer, closed.  Now almost 200 turbines are operating in Dayton and have created about 40 jobs.  On top of that number, about 250 construction workers moved to the area to help build the projects.  A city representative says the wind industry has played a crucial role.

"It has saved us.  I'm not sure what would have happened after Seneca closed if we wouldn't have had the wind industry.  I can't say we would have closed and gone away, but it just filled a gap, such an important piece," says Jennie Dickinson, Port of Columbia Manager.

After two years of measuring wind consistency and availability, Dayton was declared a great area to place the turbines.  The wind industry has also doubled Dayton's tax base, meaning neighbors have a lower tax rate.