As temperatures drop this fall, the Lakeview, Oregon, hospital and schools are staying warm using clean, inexpensive energy from deep underground. On Friday, city leaders and residents will come together to dedicate the new geothermal system that will heat the Lake District Hospital along with four local school buildings.
“Based on current fuel prices, we estimate the Lake Health District can save $200,000 and the school district may save approximately $150,000 per year on fuel costs for heating each year,” said Lakeview Town Manager Ray Simms. “This is money that can be put back into other programs.”
Studies indicate the system is capable of delivering more than 98 percent of the current energy demand at the five locations and will likely have the capacity to accommodate other local users in the future.
Construction of the geothermal well, pumping plant, pump house, and approximately 20,000 feet of piping was financed through a 40-year, $2.665 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan. The low interest rates offered through the USDA program will allow the community to save approximately $350,000 annually after accounting for loan payments.
“The innovation coming out of Lakeview demonstrates how renewable energy strategies can truly be a boost for small and rural communities,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
Additional funding support of $900,000 was provided through the State of Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program, along with $200,000 from a previous U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.
The Klamath and Burns Pauite tribes provided monitoring during excavation for the geothermal pipelines to ensure that any cultural resources, such as artifacts and burial sites, were preserved and handled appropriately while allowing the project to move forward. Cooperation for the community project also came from Lake County, Oregon Dept. of Transportation, and area landowners who allowed the pipeline to run through their property.
In addition to offering a low-cost energy option, the project also eliminates the negative air quality impacts from burning fuel oil at the five facilities.
Lake District Hospital was significantly expanded and renovated in 2011 with USDA Rural Development financing. Upgrades made at that time included the hardware and connections needed for the planned geothermal build-out. The schools also received the necessary retrofits to add geothermal heat in 2011, but with state-administered funds through the Recovery Act.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
Photographs are available upon request.