Energy Department Develops Roadmap to Help Spur Geothermal Energy Development

 
Project Overview
Positive Impact: Geothermal Regulatory Roadmap will help developers navigate regulatory requirements at every level of government to deploy geothermal energy projects.
Location: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah
Partners: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
EERE Investment: $2.4 million
Clean Energy Sector: Renewable electricity generationPDF

The Energy Department’s recently issued Geothermal Regulatory Roadmap will help developers navigate regulatory requirements at every level of government to deploy geothermal energy projects. In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, the Energy Department enlisted the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to convene key federal, state, and local permitting officials, along with industry representatives, to identify potential opportunities for streamlining the efficient and responsible development of geothermal energy in the United States. This resource builds on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to diversify the nation's energy portfolio and create clean energy jobs.

In an Energy Department report published in 2011, industry stakeholders identified the permitting timeline as one of the biggest barriers to increasing geothermal power plant development. The roadmap will help strengthen collaboration between federal and state agencies, speed the review of proposed projects, and implement steps that advance efficient and responsible evaluation. Streamlining the permitting process also helps lower development costs and reduces financial risk for utilities.

The roadmap includes distinct flowcharts that address all federal and state regulatory requirements for developing a geothermal resource—from land use and leasing plans, to drilling exploratory wells, to developing a geothermal power plant. Comprehensive federal and state regulatory process flowcharts have been completed for eight geothermal-rich states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. The next states slated for review are Colorado and Texas.

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) researches, develops, and validates innovative and cost-competitive technologies and tools to locate, access, and develop geothermal resources in the United States.

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