Environment

Willamette Valley Sees Energy Spending

OPB | Jan. 27, 2009 9:02 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:12 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Rob Manning

Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley is seeing substantial investments this week to update two old technologies with the aim of cutting carbon emissions. Rob Manning explains.


One of the technologies is among the oldest on the planet - burning wood. The Seneca Sawmill company in Eugene plans to build a 45 million dollar wood-fired electricity plant. It could produce enough power for13-thousand homes.

Renewable energy experts say that biomass plants do emit carbon - but only as much as the processed trees had previously absorbed.

Oregon State University has received six million dollars to study a greener kind of nuclear power.

Nuclear produces little carbon, but it does create hazardous waste. But the hotter process that O-S-U will investigate could cut the amount of waste in half.

A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Energy says these two projects are just part of an intensifying conversation around energy spending.

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