News

BLM to hold lease sale for parcel at Mt. Princeton on February 11, 2010

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 5 Jan 2010

BLM's February 11, 2010 sale will offer an 800-acre parcel with subsurface federal mineral rights in Chaffee County, near the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort west of Buena Vista in Colorado.

According to local news, “in its upcoming Colorado lease sale, the Bureau of Land Management will, for the first time, offer geothermal energy leases. The move allows for the potential development of geothermal energy — energy that, essentially, comes from hot water inside the earth. The energy is renewable and clean but does present challenges, such as piping the hot water away from its origin and then back into the closed-loop system.

The Feb. 11 sale will offer an 800-acre parcel with subsurface federal mineral rights in Chaffee County, near the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort west of Buena Vista. The single parcel was deferred from the November 2009 sale at the request of the state of Colorado to allow time for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources to confer with BLM Colorado on topics relating to geothermal leasing.

Regionally, the idea of geothermal has taken shape near Rico, an area that’s been studied for its potential. The property surrounding the tiny town, about 40 minutes southwest of Telluride, is dotted with springs hot enough, researchers say, to fuel a geothermal energy operation. There are no acres near Rico offered up in the upcoming lease, but the BLM’s decision to allow geothermal leasing cracks the door for exploration.

There are 11 oil and gas leases offered in the sale. Of those, some 3,511 fall within the BLM’s Cañon City Field Office area. None are in San Miguel County.

According to the agency, “The BLM manages 253 million acres — more land than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estates throughout the nation.”

Based on the limited drilling and geochemistry data for Colorado, the current data show there are about five likely sites for geothermal plants, said Matt Sares, deputy director of the state Geological Survey:

• Strawberry Hot Springs, north of Steamboat Springs.
• The San Juan Mountains near Ouray and Rico.
• Pagosa Springs in Archuleta County.
• Waunita Springs, Gunnison County.
• Mount Princeton Hot Springs in Chaffee County.

Source: Telluride Daily Planet