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Oregon's Geothermal Portfolio Expected to Increase before Year's End

An article on Sustainablebusinessoregon.com focuses on geothermal energy in Oregon, citing up to 19 projects in development in the state (GEA's "2012 US Geothermal Power Production and Development Report" (April 2012) confirmed 16).

Using the GEA’s report as a source, the article explains the majority of the projects (nine) were reported as being in a first phase of development, meaning rights were secured and pre-drilling exploration and transmission analysis was complete. Two others had proceeded to the permit, drilling and feasibility study stage. In three cases, including the utility projects, had permits and studies completed, and full-sized wells were already drilled. 

Dan Kunz, CEO of U.S. Geothermal Inc. (NYSE: HTM) told press his company’s project at Neal Hot Springs, now nearly complete, was helped along by a Business Energy Tax Credit from Oregon. He noted Oregon’s topography is attractive as U.S. Geothermal considers other projects and that the land between the Rockies and the Coast Range has a thin crust, allowing heat to come to the surface, like a pizza with a thin center. In areas where Oregon has available capacity on major power lines, development is likely to be more economical and move ahead more quickly, Kunz said.

U.S. Geothermal Inc., a GEA member, provided an update on August 8 that the 22-net MW air cooled Neal Hot Springs geothermal plant in Oregon is expected to reach commercial operation, after adjustments are made, in the fourth quarter of 2012. The project will significantly add to Oregon’s geothermal portfolio; currently, a 0.28-MW geothermal unit, which began producing electricity in August 2009, is on line at the Oregon Institute of Technology’s Klamath Falls campus.

This article was originally published in GEA's Geothermal Energy Weekly and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Oregon flag via Shutterstock

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Leslie is located in Washington DC at the Office of the Geothermal Energy Association and serves on the Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo committee.

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