Oregon's first utility-scale geothermal power plant is producing electricity in Malheur County. Boise-based U.S. Geothermal says its Neal Hot Springs Project has been operating round-the-clock for several days now. The company hopes to start putting power on the grid by the end of the year.
Rachel Shimshack is the executive director of the Renewable Northwest Project. That's an advocacy group that promotes solar, wind, and geothermal projects throughout the region.
She says Oregon is developing a wide array of renewables including solar and wind. She says geothermal projects like the one at Neal Hot Springs will continue to be an important part of that mix.
"We have a great resource in the state of Oregon and this project is just the first of what we hope will be other projects that will come forward over the the next many years", says Shimshack.
Shimshack says a number of smaller geothermal projects are underway around the state. Last month in Central Oregon, Newberry Geothermal began creating underground reservoirs.
They’re part of an experimental process the company hopes will eventually make geothermal energy production more cost-effective and widely adoptable.