Alaska, US passes bill to encourage geothermal projects

Alaska, US passes bill to encourage geothermal projects Downtown Juneau, capital of Alaska (source: flickr/Kristin Myers Harvey, creative commons)
Carlo Cariaga 16 Feb 2023

A new Senate Bill passed in Alaska increases access to geothermal resources and removes some barriers in geothermal project development.

Governor Mike Dunleavy of the state of Alaska, U.S. has introduced HB 74 / SB 69 which aims to increase access to Alaska’s geothermal resources and cut red tape that hinders large-scale infrastructure projects.

Senate Bill 69 or “An Act relating to geothermal resources; relating to the definition of ‘geothermal resources; and providing for an effective date” has several provisions that help encourage geothermal projects in Alaska:

  • Updates the definition of geothermal systems to those associated with “…the recovery of geothermal energy for heating, aquaculture, and production of electric power for commercial or industrial uses.”
  • Eliminates the requirement for a prospecting license or lease for the exploration, development, or use of geothermal resources for domestic, non-commercial, or small-scale industrial use.
  • Increases the time allowance for geothermal exploration permits from three years to five years.
  • Increases the acreage limit for geothermal projects from 51,200 acres to a maximum of 100,000 acres.

“Geothermal resources could be an important component of a sustainable energy mix,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Our location on the Pacific Ring of Fire puts Alaska in a prime position to benefit from geothermal energy. This bill makes geothermal exploration more viable for private industry.”

A geothermal project is currently being developed jointly in Unalaska by Chena Power and the Qawalanging Tribe of Unalaska. In 2022, the project received USD 2.5 million of federal funding. Ormat Technologies Inc. has also been selected as the EPC contractor for the project.

Source: Government of Alaska