Merkley: New OIT Geothermal Plant One Step Closer

Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today touted the energy production and research potential of the proposed one-megawatt geothermal plant on the campus of the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT).  OIT is slated to receive $400,000 in federal funding requested by Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden in legislation that is currently moving through the U.S. Senate.

“Taking advantage of the Oregon’s natural energy makes a world of sense,” Senator Merkley said. “Geothermal energy doesn’t require us to burn anything, to put any pollution into our air or water, or to import oil from the Middle East.  OIT can tap the heat right below our feet in Klamath Falls and help pave the way for a clean energy future while creating an important teaching and research tool.”

Since 1964, OIT has harnessed geothermal energy to power various parts of its Klamath Falls campus. A leader in renewable energy studies, OIT has consistently expanded its geothermal capabilities. By combining geothermal technology with solar power, building improvements and energy reduction initiatives, OIT is looking to eliminate all carbon pollution by 2017.

The funding is part of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Act and must still pass the full Senate, be merged with a companion bill from the House, and be signed by the President before it becomes law and the funds become available.

An MP3 file of Senator Merkley’s comments is available for download: