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Oregon Senate backs Newberry geothermal lab


State Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) successfully carried memorial legislation Wednes day on the Senate floor in support of bringing a federal geothermal research facility to the Newberry Geothermal Project in Deschutes County.

House Joint Memorial 19 would urge the U.S. Secretary of Energy and Congress to site their prospective Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) at the Newberry Geothermal Project.

Knopp prompted fellow state senators to vote favorably on HJM 19.

“This is a great opportunity for us to urge Congress to bring a state-of-the-art geothermal lab to Oregon,” he said. “There is anopportunityto bring $30 million to Oregon. … I think it’s a great fitfor Oregon.”

The Oregon Senate voted 28-0 to adopt HJM 19.

The FORGE will conduct research on enhanced geothermal systems and is coveted by five different sites because of its potential environmental and economic benefits.

Knopp chief-sponsored HJM 19 with fellow Deschutes County legislator Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) in an attempt to bring the facility to the Newberry Geothermal Project.

HJM 19 passed the House 51-0 carried by Whisnant in April.

“Deschutes County is a prime location to locate this Geothermal Research Lab,” Whisnant said. “Constructing and operating the lab here would produce economic benefits to the region and make Oregon a national leader in researching alternative energy sources.”

“The DOE estimates that the FORGE lab will be funded at $30 million per year, as well as employ an estimated 301 people during the construction phase and another 100 to operate the lab,” he added.

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