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The Switch: Geothermal Energy

OPB | June 5, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:53 p.m.

Humans have been using geothermal energy for centuries, ever since discovering naturally occurring hot springs. Now, water heated by the earth’s core is being harnessed to heat indoor spaces and, in some places, to generate electricity. One Oregon prison won an Oregon State Energy Efficient Design Award (SEED) for its use of geothermal technology to provide both hot water and heat for its buildings. Some Oregonians are taking advantage of state and federal tax credits by installing geothermal heat pumps in their homes.

According to the state geologist, Oregon could make geothermal energy an even bigger slice of our energy pie by harnessing the heat from potentially active volcanoes.

Do you heat your home or business using geothermal energy? Have you visited hot springs in Oregon? Where do you see the opportunities to expand the use of geothermal technology in the state?

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