Idaho receives little royalties from geothermal development

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 3 Feb 2009

Based on Idaho Business Review, the State of Idaho receives little royalties out of a federal program based on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Based on Idaho Business Review, Idaho, while “famous for its geothermally heated capitol mall and a state with the highest potential for geothermal development” receives little royalties out of a federal program based on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The act was supposed to help states and counties to shoulder the costs of geothermal development on federal lands.

The article goes on to describe that the federal government is entitled to 25% of the revenue from lease sales, States receiving 50% and counties getting the remaining 25%. Based on a recent Geothermal Energy Association report, the revenue-sharing program distributed about US$ 27 million to the six most active geothermal states and more than US$ 13 million directly to countries.  “That money has helped states invest in energy infrastructure, bolster general funds and support the expansion of renewable resources. It has also helped counties repair roads, settle debts and weather budget holdbacks.”

According to that report, Idaho received a little over US$ 2.9 million in the last 2 fiscal years. California received more than US$ 14.5 million over the same time period.  The Bureau of Land Managment and the Forest Service estimated in a study that Idaho could be cashing in soon. As much as 885 MW could be developed commercially by 2015 in the state and by 2025 as much as 1,670 MW could be on-line. (estimated to provide enough power to more than 1 million people)

Probably, so the article, the hardest competition is lower cost hydro power. Another obstacle is the lack of an accurate picture on geothermal resources and where to find them, a difficult task to swallow for developers who have to take on the exploration risk.

Source: Idaho Business Review