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BEND, Ore. (AP) -- Two companies have begun an experiment to see if they can create a geothermal electrical generating plant at the dormant Newberry Volcano in Central Oregon.

They're pumping cool water thousands of feet down to crack the rocks. They hope to create fissures that will store millions of gallons of boiling water so it can eventually be drawn to the surface and create steam to turn power turbines.

The federal government and private investors have put up a total of more than $40 million for the experiment. The rock-cracking work is expected to continue over the next month.

The Bend Bulletin reports the project supporters hope eventually to generate 50 megawatts of power, enough for 50,000 homes. But an operating power plant is years away.

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