Court of Appeals rejects $3.2M tax refund claim by Satsop power plant owners

Posted by Brad Shannon on July 24, 2013 

The state Court of Appeals has rejected a major property-tax refund claim filed against Grays Harbor County by the energy firm that runs an electrical power-generating plant at Satsop. The gas-fired Grays Harbor Energy plant, which is owned by Chicago-based Invenergy, had sought $3.2 million for taxes paid in 2005-08 while the facility was being completed.

At issue was the taxing of assets as personal property during a period of construction. Invenergy, which touts its inventory of wind and gas-fired power production facilities around the country, had purchased the partly finished 620-megawatt power-generating plant from Duke Energy Corp. in 2005 for $21 million, according to news reports.

Lawyers for Grays Harbor Energy argued that a new-construction rule should have shielded the plant assets from taxation while it was under construction and it opposed treating the plant under personal property tax law. 

That argument was rejected by the court in a decision authored by Appeals Court Division II Chief Judge Judge Lisa R. Worswick and signed by Judge Joel Penoyer and Judge Tom Bjorgen. The full ruling, which the court released this week, is here.

It was the second time the company had appealed taxes on the Grays Harbor plant. 

The power plant began generating power in 2008 on the Satsop site once owned by the Washington Public Power Supply System, which sponsored a disastrous nuclear-power program that ended in a $2.25 billion bond default in 1983 and was the nation's largest municipal at the time.


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