Friday, June 3, 2011

Geothermal Energy in Oregon!

Since we are talking about renewal energy we need to take into consideration geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the earth. Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. The Untied States does have geothermal resources but best ones are located here in the western states.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Program show the best resources are located in areas such as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

There are fast moving states that are already taking advantage of this fine source, one the leading and largest plants is Idaho.  Recently, Nevada has signed a 25 year power purchase agreement with US Geothermal Inc, a renewal energy development company. This company also has a large plant located in their state.

According to the maps provide by the UDEGTP Oregon has the same ability as Idaho and Nevada do. Why hasn’t Oregon invested in this resource we have laying under our feet? Oregon is considered to be on of the Greenest states having the top Green city, Portland in the whole nation.

According to tracking Saf Dhillon, who handles investor relations for U.S. Geothermal, Inc., a company that is currently developing projects in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon, said, “Traditionally Wall Street and political support has been behind wind and solar, seen as the only renewable options. Geothermal has always taken the backseat in terms of funding and subsidy support. As the markets have educated investors they have come to realize that over the long term these geothermal assets are obviously much more profitable, but they have also realized that they are very capital intensive up front.” The location of the project is Neal Hot Springs in eastern Oregon” (Mike Breslin, 2011).

Neal Hot Springs is a new 23 megawatt facility under construction and expected to cost approximately $130 million. “This is the first geothermal plant to qualify to receive the ITC and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program. DOE will provide and guarantee a low interest loan of approximately $97 million. In addition, 60 days after the plant starts production, we will receive a check for 30 percent of the plants total capital expenditure under the Treasury Grant Program,” Dhillon explained (Mike Breslin, 2011) .

Oregon again will be one of the pioneering states to start using less nonrenewable energy. Hopefully the government can start to give tax credits and incentives for geothermal energy, which is still considered to be the poor relative to wind and solar.

Although geothermal energy hasn’t been fully exploited in the US in other countries such as Ice Land geothermal provides 53% of all their energy. They plan to be completely fossil-fuel free in the near future. Ice Land gives me great enthusiasm for Oregon in the near future and its potential to be one of the leading states with geothermal capabilities. 

Isai Montes De Oca 

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