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Seattle Company Plans More Geothermal Work In Central Oregon

OPB | Feb. 28, 2014 4:04 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 28, 2014 5:38 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Members of the public have until the last week of March to weigh in on a proposal that would expand geothermal exploration near the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Central Oregon. 

It’s been more than a year since Seattle-based Altarock Energy first began to pump cold water into a well near the Newberry monument. 

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Michael Clapp / OPB

The idea was to create a network of cracks through which water, pumped from the surface, could absorb heat and then circulate, as it would in a radiator.   But so far, the reservoir hasn’t performed as the company’s engineers had hoped. 

Jean Nelson-Dean is a public affairs officer with the Deschutes National Forest. 

“They’re going to go back in this summer.  They’re going to kind of redo the well, under the analysis that we’ve already done and re-stimulated and hope that it works better,” said Nelson-Dean.

Last week, The Bureau of Land Management published its extended environmental assessment of the project. 

The public comment period ends on March 26th. 

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