Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises is beginning the second phase of a geothermal research project utilizing a $580,000 grant from the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development. Jim Manion, general manager of Power and Water, explains that the research area is near Kah-Nee-Ta and the Mutton Mountains.
The first phase of the project involved analysis of soil and other features of the area, to determine whether a geothermal resource may exist. This study proved positive, leading to the second phase, which will involve drilling a deeper well and more detailed analysis. Eventually, Power and Water could develop a small or moderate sized generating facility. The facility would be in the 3 to 15 watt range, compared to, for instance, the tribes’ Re-Reg dam, which is 20 megawatts.
A state energy policy requires utilities to include a certain amount of renewable energy sources in their portfolios, which makes the Warm Springs geothermal project potentially lucrative for the tribes.