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MailTribune.com
  • Geothermal energy plant in the works near Klamath Falls

    High-volume, low-heat energy operation would be first in the U.S.
  • A Klamath Falls company has applied for construction permits on a 9.7-megawatt geothermal project south of the city.
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  • A Klamath Falls company has applied for construction permits on a 9.7-megawatt geothermal project south of the city.
    The Klamath Hills geothermal plant, proposed by Entiv Organic Energy, would be on leased land. Entiv is a company formed to pursue such projects and spearheaded locally by Mike Noonan, a Klamath Basin farmer.
    High-volume, low-heat geothermal energy plants of this sort operate only in Germany, Japan and Iceland, Entiv officials said previously.
    The technology was created by Technip, a French company whose research indicates it would match well with the Klamath Falls area's geothermal resources. Entiv also has partnered with Iceland-based Mannvit for work in the Klamath Basin.
    "We have spent a considerable amount of time finalizing our plant design and financial model to make sure we have a project that will deliver long-term benefits to the region," said Doug Badger, spokesman for Entiv, in a news release. "We're now comfortable moving forward and are excited to begin construction."
    Entiv filed an application with Klamath County for a construction permit at the Klamath Hills site, the first of a series of required permits. The company additionally seeks a federal tax credit that requires construction to begin in 2013.
    A Entiv Organic Energy geothermal project is also proposed on Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
    The geothermal plant would be privately held, although a portion of proceeds would go toward subsidizing the cost of pumping water onto Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.
    "In recent years, the refuge has seen its water levels plummet as escalating power rates have made pumping uneconomical," according to the Entiv news release.
    "The result is a refuge that historically had received 95,000 acre-feet of water annually has received less than 23,000 acre-feet since August of 2012. This has led to the refuge drying completely this year, creating water quality problems and a loss of waterfowl," the release said.
    Badger said the refuge geothermal project went on a hiatus while the company finalized engineering and construction plans.
    Entiv will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release an environmental assessment for public comment. Badger said the company hopes to complete the environmental analysis by the end of 2013.
    Reach Herald and News reporter Devan Schwartz at dschwartz@heraldandnews.com.
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