Merkley, Wyden Announce Loan for Lakeview Hospital/Schools Geothermal Project

LAKEVIEW, OR – Proving that geothermal energy has the potential to provide real world applications that can lower energy bills and help break the grip of foreign oil, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced that the Town of Lakeview will receive a low-cost loan to pursue its plans for geothermal heating. The loan, which comes from a USDA rural development program, will allow the Town of Lakeview to heat the Lakeview Hospital, Lakeview schools, and other sites with geothermal energy. Merkley made the announcement at his annual town hall in Lake County. 

“This project will be a win-win: jobs for the community and sustainable, low-cost energy for Lakeview’s hospital and schools,” said Senator Merkley. “I was thrilled to be able to bring this good news to today’s town hall.” 

“Geothermal energy is one of the most promising clean energy alternatives available to Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest,” Wyden said. “This project puts that potential to great use by giving the town of Lakeview the ability to heat their hospital and schools with safe, sustainable energy. It will improve the town’s energy costs, create jobs in the community and provide yet another real-world example of how smart uses of sustainable energy can make a difference in the lives of Oregonians.” 

“Today’s announcement supports the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to include inexpensive, domestically produced renewable energy,” said Vicki Walker, State Director for USDA Rural Development, the agency administering the loan to the Town of Lakeview. “At USDA we are focused on helping rural communities drive innovation and support thriving rural economies.” 

The new commitment confirms that the Town of Lakeview will receive a $3,369,250 direct loan through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program. 

The funds will allow two geothermal wells that were previously drilled, but unused, to be tapped for energy. In addition, a new well will be drilled to bring the project up-to-date with existing technologies and extend the useful life of the wells. 

The system will heat:

  • The Lakeview Hospital, where geothermal heating retrofits were included in the expansion and remodel that was completed in 2011.
  • Fremont Elementary, A.D. Hay Elementary, Daly Middle School, The Agricultural Shop adjacent to the high school, and Lakeview High School, where building retrofits were completed in 2011.

 The system can possibly accommodate other users in the area in the future. Studies predict that the new geothermal system will be capable of delivering 98% of the current energy demand at the six original locations. 

Senator Merkley holds a town hall in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year. Today’s town hall was his fourth annual town hall in Lake County and his 142nd town hall since taking office.