Klamath geothermal project lands $1.75M federal grant
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is set to host a 10-megawatt geothermal energy plant, built with the help of a $1.75M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
A pair of companies aiming to build a 10-megawatt geothermal plant in the Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge announced Wednesday a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Technip and Entiv Organic Energy are partnering on a plant that will use a fluid power system designed to pull power from low-temperature geothermal resources. The plant carries a price tag of about $40 million.
The geothermal project on the refuge is being hailed by lawmakers as something that can deliver clean power while protecting wildlife.
"One of the best ways to protect our planet is to use its own heat to serve our energy needs,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in a statement. "This project is demonstrating that advances in geothermal technology and collaboration between the public and private sector can create great things for communities and wildlife."
In addition to generating power, the plant will also help subsidize the cost of pumping water for the refuge, which has seen its water levels sink in recent years.
"This project will deliver desperately needed water to the world’s largest waterfowl refuge," said Mike Noonan, a Klamath Basin farmer and president of Entiv Organic Energy, in a press release. “The Klamath community needs the ability to move water cost-effectively for agriculture and the environment. We want to be a part of that solution."
The Department of Energy grant will support development of the Klamath refuge plant, which will use unique technology licensed by French energy giant Technip, Entiv's partner on the project. The technology has been used in other parts of the world but the plant in southern Oregon would be its first use in the U.S.
Entiv and Technip are also seeking permits for a second 10-megwatt project on private land north of the refuge. Both projects are scheduled to come online by the end of 2013, adding to Oregon's growing portfolio of geothermal energy. Together, the Klamath-area plants would be close in size to the Neal Hot Springs geothermal project that started operations in southeastern Oregon earlier this year.
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