PBS Visits Lake County


PBS’s This American Land to highlight Lake County’s sustainability efforts


Spring 2012 LCRI took PBS’s This American Land show for a whirl wind tour of Lake County. We introduced them to the folks that are turning Lake County around with renewable energy and environmental stewardship. Here are some of the highlights:

To view the PBS video about Lake County click here, Renewable Energy in Lake County, Oregon.


Lakeview – Geothermal for Schools and the Hospital

Bob Rogers, our renewable energy engineer, and Sean Gallagher, the School District 7’s superintendent, showed off the new heating systems of Lakeview’s hospital and schools. Once connected to the soon to be built heating district, these geothermal heating systems will save the schools $50,000 a year and the hospital $100,000 a year in heating costs.
Bob describes the hospital’s geothermal heating system​

Mr. Gallagher explains the schools' geothermal heating system to PBS

Sean Gallagher explains the school’s geothermal heating system

Bob describes the hospital's geothermal heating system to PBS

Bob describes the hospital’s geothermal heating system


Medium Sized Geothermal – Paisely’s 4 Megawatt Plant

Mark Douglas, the mayor of Paisley, was kind enough to shows us the well that will power Paisley’s geothermal power plant. Paisley is partnering with Surprise Valley Electric to build the power plant. Originally, the plant was only supposed to have one production well and was supposed to produce only 2 megawatts of electricity. However, Mark shared, that when they dug the re-injection well for the plant they ended up finding even hotter water than the first production well. So now the plant has two production wells and its anticipated capacity has increased to 4 megawatts. Paisley still needs to find a place to re-inject the geothermal water and will begin digging soon. And while we do hope they eventually find a suitable spot for a re-injection well, we wouldn’t complain if they found a few more production wells along the way.

Additionally, and a big surprise to us, Mark has been testing the average wind speed near Paisley. He’s yet to collect enough data to say whether the wind speeds are consistant enough to allow for electrical generation but he did say the results are looking good. Paisley certainly would be blessed to have both geothermal and wind power.

Mayor Douglas explains the future of Paisley's geothermal energy production

Paisley Mayor Mark Douglas explains the future of Paisley’s geothermal energy production


Mayor Mark Douglas shows off the Paisley Anemometer (wind speed)



Forest Stewardship

Paul Harlan, Vice President Resources – Collins Company, explained how loggers, environmental activists and government agencies have come together to care for Lake County’s forest.

Sustainable Forestry

Paul Harlan, Vice President Resources of the Collins Company, explains the history and sustainable forest management of the Lakeview Stewardship Unit.


Residential Renewable Energy

Just as important as Lake County’s large scale renewable energy projects are the home and business projects of the county. Through innovative technologies like solar heating systems, small wind, and ground source heat pumps, Lake County’s residents and businesses are finding ways to improve their environmental contribution and increase their earnings. Here are some pics of a few of the homes and businesses we visited.

Solar Evacuated Tubes

Playa is a retreat center for artists and academics and it is located near Summer Lake, Oregon. Its owner and staff are dedicated to protecting nature and sustainable practices. Solar evacuated tubes are a great tool for meeting Playa’s substantial heating needs in an environmentally sound way.


Solar evacuated tubes are used to heat the Playa lodge


Straw Bale and Ground Source Heat Pump

Straw bale homes are incredibly energy efficient. The home shown below is not only built out of straw bales but it is also heated and cooled by a ground source heat pump.


Straw bale home heated by a fire place and a ground source heat pump.


Ground Source Heat Pump; buried five feet underground are the circulation tubes pulling heat from the Earth and into the home.


Off the Grid with Wind and Solar

Willow Springs Guest Ranch is located near Valley Falls, Oregon. Thanks to two solar arrays and a small wind turbine Willow Springs is off the grid. Keith Barnhart, co-owner, explained how 16 years ago the expense of bringing electrical lines to the ranch lead him and his wife to use solar and wind. Keith shared that the renewable energy systems power all their electrical appliances and provide the guests with plenty of electricity.


Willow Spring’s small wind tower

Keith explains the workings of the ranch’s photovoltaic panels


To read more about the tour and its up-coming video, go to This American Land’s blog.