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U.S. Forest Service aims to push for geothermal development

Ormat preparing flow tests at Mammoth Lakes, at the Inyo National Forest, California (source: BLM California, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 3 Nov 2017

Tasked by the U.S. President, the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests increased efforts to lease land in national forests for geothermal development in the U.S. highlighting the possible revenues for the country's Treasury.

This spring, an executive order by the U.S. President asked U.S. federal agencies what actions are holding back energy production on federal land.

In a report published by the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends regulations, policies and agreements with other agencies, analysis and more.

As part of that the U.S. Forest Service, suggests that officials in national forests with high geothermal potential consider geothermal leasing and development in their forest plans.

The Forest Service plays a role in the leasing of geothermal resources found on NFS lands in partnership with BLM. On NFS lands, the Forest Service has sole responsibility for authorizing and regulating access to geothermal resources leaseholds. Geothermal leasing, exploration and development activities on National Forest System lands are taking place in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Leases for geothermal resources are in effect for approximately 118,000 acres of NFS lands nationwide. Ten national forests manage activity related to geothermal resources. Geothermal Power Plant Inyo National Forest, California Oil well drilling Dakota Prairie National Grassland, North Dakota 4 In FY 2016, geothermal resource production from NFS lands contributed over 360,000 MWh of electricity, valued at over $22 million. This production generated over $650,000 of revenue for the United States Treasury.

Source: EE NewsUSDA (pdf)