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Geothermal Energy
The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therme (heat). So, geothermal energy is heat from within the earth. We can recover this heat as steam or hot water and use it to heat buildings or generate electricity.
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source because the heat is continuously produced inside the earth.
Naturally occurring large areas of hydrothermal resources are called geothermal reservoirs. Most geothermal reservoirs are deep underground with no visible clues showing above ground. But geothermal energy sometimes finds its way to the surface in the form of:
  • Volcanoes and fumaroles (holes where volcanic gases are released)
  • Hot springs
  • Geysers
Most of the geothermal resources in the United States are found in the West:
Source: USDOE
Geothermal Energy in Oregon

In 2012, U.S. Geothermal Inc. brought online a 26 megawatt facility at Neal Hot Springs near the eastern Oregon town of Vale. Sometime in 2013 Surprise Valley Electrification expects to have a 3 megawatt plant operational at Paisley, a rural city in Eastern Oregon.

Resource uncertainty as well as high development and exploration costs are substantial barriers to development of geothermal sources for power production. The location of potential geothermal sources in environmentally sensitive areas has also been a barrier to siting geothermal power facilities in the state.
The city of Klamath Falls uses geothermal energy directly to supply heat for a district heating system. Geothermal sources in several other Oregon counties supply heat to buildings, swimming pools, resorts and for industrial uses.

Oregon Resources

Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries

Geothermal Information Layer for Oregon
The interactive GTILO map lets you view information on location, temperature, and other features of thermal springs and wells (geothermal exploration, geothermal test, and water wells) as well as known geothermal resource areas and direct-use areas. 

Geo-Heat Center
The Geo-Heat Center at Oregon Institute of Technology provides technical analysis for those actively involved in geothermal development. This assistance can be in the area of feasibility at the outset of a project, equipment and materials selection during the design phase or follow-up troubleshooting for operational systems. 

Geothermal in Oregon - Where it is being used, Where it can be used
This document includes general information on geothermal potential and uses in Oregon. 

Other Resources
Geothermal Technologies Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Program works in partnership with industry to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the nation's energy supply. 

Geothermal Energy Association

Geothermal Resource Council