Oregon Tech Closer To Renewable Energy Independence

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, June 10 2013 at 4:40 PM, Updated: Tue, June 11 2013 at 11:41 AM

Oregon Tech is taking big steps towards becoming the world's only energy-independent campus, with two renewable energy projects.

The foundation is now being prepared for Oregon Tech's energy future.

"This project is a 1.75 megawatt power plant project."  Notes Project Manager Bob Simonton.  "Which is quite a bit larger than our existing power plant, which is only 280 kilowatts."

Batzer Construction of Medford is in charge of the two and a half million dollar project, which will tap into 200 degree water from a mile-deep geothermal well.

The project is scheduled for completion in mid-November of this year.

Oregon Tech will also begin harvesting solar power later this year.  Simonton says a project to install a field of solar panels is scheduled to begin on the 27th of this month.

"The project will cover about nine acres on the hill here at the Oregon Tech campus, and will generate just under two megawatts of power."

Simonton adds the new systems will be used to help power and cool a campus that's already heated geothermally...

"So the goal is to provide 100% of the campus' needs through these two renewable energy projects."

Completion of the solar and geothermal project will make OIT the only campus on the planet to be energy self-sufficient.

The geothermal project is funded through a mix of state, federal, and grant dollars.

The 1.75 megawatts produced by the geothermal plant will produce about two-thirds of Oregon Tech's power needs.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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