SALEM, OR -- State Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) testified at the public hearing on locating a geothermal facility in Central Oregon. Legislation in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, this week, would urge the U.S. Energy Secretary and Congress to site their new geothermal project in Deschutes County.
In his testimony, Sen. Knopp admitted Oregon is competing with Utah, Idaho, California and Nevada for the project. "An advantage Oregon has, is being located near the Newberry research lab, which is identified as one of the best sites in the country." He added, "If this were based on merit alone, we would get the lab, hands down. But, you might have guessed, politics will play a part. So, I'd like to come from a position of strength related to that."
The bill passed the House, supported by Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver), and is poised to pass the full Senate. The Department of Energy estimates the lab will be funded at $30 million a year, as well as employ more than 300 during construction. An estimated 100 people are expected to work at the lab once it's open.