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Another Colorado geothermal lease goes to concerned landowner

Gunnison County, Colorado (source: flickr/ J. Stephen Conn, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 15 Feb 2012

A concerned landowner in Gunnison County, Colorado is the winning bidder of a recent BLM geothermal lease sale in Colorado, resulting likely in the parcel not being developed.

Reported by local media, “the owner of a large ranch who reportedly was concerned about possible impacts to his property from two large geothermal leases in southeastern Gunnison County, Colorado was the winning bidder for those leases Thursday (last week).

The Double Heart Lodge, owned by Texan Ray Davis, paid $33,716 for two geothermal lease parcels totaling 8,353 acres.

This was the Bureau of Land Management’s second geothermal lease sale in Colorado in just a few years, after about 30 years without holding one. It also appears to be the second time in which the winning bidder is a person or entity worried about protecting their property.

In 2010, the Gunnison Times reported that Davis owns a 12,000-acre ranch in the area of the two lease parcels and was concerned about potential impacts from geothermal energy development.

“It’s a large ranch that pretty much dominates this part of the area up here,” retiree Rod Pringle, whose son Ryan owns the nearby Waunita Hot Springs Ranch resort, said Thursday of the Double Heart Lodge.

Ranch representatives couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

In 2010, the owner of a Young Life Christian youth camp near Buena Vista made the winning bid for a geothermal lease sale involving about 800 acres, much of which was camp acreage with underlying federal minerals. A camp representative said it wanted to be able to protect the landscape around the camp.

Leaseholders have 10 years to develop and make beneficial use of the geothermal lease or else the lease is terminated. That use can involve commercial energy development, or purposes such as heating a building or a pool.

The Double Heart Lodge paid the minimum required bid of $2 an acre for the two parcels Thursday, as well as rental and administrative fees.”

This basically can indicated two things, that the interest of actual geothermal power developers is too little for development in Colorado for the price, or that the run on geothermal properties and leases in general is decreasing.

So developers are not only competing with each other on potential properties, but also with groups that – one can assume this in these two cases in Colorado – just don´t want to see any development. A shame when it means that projects that are supposed to bring renewable base-load power to regions won´t be built.

Source: The Daily Sentinel