Report shows geothermal heating up across Oregon

A new report from the Geothermal Energy Association shows momentum picking up in Oregon for geothermal projects, including this plant in Malhuer County soon to start operations by U.S. Geothermal Inc.
Courtesy U.S. Geothermal Inc.

A new report from the Geothermal Energy Association shows momentum picking up in Oregon for geothermal projects, including this plant in Malhuer County soon to start operations by U.S. Geothermal Inc. 

Geothermal development is kicking up in Oregon, with the Geothermal Energy Association’s most recent survey showing up to 330 megwatts of new geothermal projects in development.

That means increased economic activity in the state, particularly in Southern Oregon, but how quickly the drilling of wells and the construction of power plants can take hold depends in part on market forces in and out of the region, and other factors.

The GEA shows 16 known geothermal projects in development in Oregon, 12 in Southern Oregon. Local sources boost the number to 19. They include the hot-rock geothermal exploration near the Newberry Crater by Davenport Newberry and AltaRock Energy Inc., as well as utility-scale efforts to create small binary cycle power plants at the Oregon Institute of Technology and in the town of Paisley by Surprise Valley Electric.

The association’s latest survey also found that Reno, Nevada-based Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORMT) now has seven projects in development in Oregon, in addition to the partnership with Nevada Geothermal at the Crump Geyser in Adel which could result in a 30-megawatt plant. GEA notes one Ormat project is located at Foley Hot Springs in Lane County. The other six are all identified as more southerly efforts, one in Deschutes County in the Newberry Crater area, and the other five in Lake County near Goose, Silver and Summer Lakes, with two near Glass Buttes.

Ormat Technologies could not be reached for comment.

GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell, said the projects were identified through a survey of geothermal companies intended to gauge geothermal development in the region.

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