Thursday, October 23, 2008

U.S. Government Betting on Geothermal

The Interior Department announced yesterday that is making 190 million acres of federal land available for lease by private interests for development of geothermal energy projects. The Federal and state governments will share in the proceeds of any projects developed on the leased lands.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said it is estimated that the available leases could produce enough energy to generate 5,540 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 5.5 million homes.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The government has had a geothermal leasing program under way for years. Since 2001, the Bureau of Land Management has issued 380 leases for geothermal projects. Currently, 1,275 megawatts of electricity are being produced from geothermal resources on federal land.

But the new plan calls for making more federal land available for such projects. Kempthorne said the new leases could begin to produce significant amounts of power by 2015."

The Chronicle identifies the land up for lease in 12 states: Alaska (3), Arizona (8), California (14), Colorado (10), Idaho (20), Montana (8), Nevada (8), New Mexico (9), Oregon (10), Utah (18), Washington (1) and Wyoming (13).