photo: Óli Jón
Geothermal energy finally seems to be getting the attention it deserves. While it still is a small percentage of most nation’s energy mix (read: everybody but Iceland), the potential of geothermal in some places is enormous. Towards that end, Google and the US Department of Energy have both committed resources to bring more geothermal power online in the past few months; now, the US Department of the Interior has announced that it will be opening up a good sized swath of federal lands to geothermal power development:190 Million Acres of Land Up For Lease
In total some 190 million acres of land, in 11 states, will be made available for lease. The estimated total power potential of these areas is 5,540 megawatts; which could come online by 2015 and would be enough power for about 5.5 million average homes. By 2025 this amount could rise to 12,100 megawatts, the Dept. of the Interior said in its news release.
Of the money generated by these leases, 50% would go to the state, 25% to the county where the specific project is located, and 25% to a federal fund dedicated to further geothermal power development.
National Parks, Wilderness Areas Remain Off Limits
It should be noted that lands currently off limits to geothermal development, such as national parks and designated wilderness and wilderness study areas, will remain off limits.
The states involved in the plan are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
More details: Geothermal Resources Leasing Programmatic EIS
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