BLM Geothermal Leasing Yields $20 Million in Winning Bids

August 22, 2007

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a competitive auction for geothermal lease parcels in California and Nevada on August 14th and received nearly $20 million in winning bids. According to the BLM, the results signal a significant future expansion of geothermal power in the two states. In Nevada, the BLM offered 43 parcels covering 122,849 acres in the western and central parts of the state. Ormat Nevada, Inc.—a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc.—was both the big winner and the big spender in Nevada, claiming 22 parcels that total nearly 68,900 acres, for a cost of about $8.2 million. Other major bidders in Nevada were Sierra Geothermal Power Inc., which won nine parcels covering more than 18,100 acres, and Raser Power Systems, LLC, which won four parcels covering more than 15,300 acres. Bids were provided for all 43 parcels, and the winning bids totaled nearly $11.7 million. See the list of winning Nevada bids on the Nevada BLM Web site.

Photo of a geothermal field with steam rising from the ground.

Located in northern California, The Geysers geothermal complex is the largest in the United States.
Credit: PG&E

The auction also included six valuable parcels in The Geysers, a rare high-temperature resource area in northern California where the geothermal fluid comes out of the ground as steam, allowing developers to produce power using a simple turbine and generator. Those parcels, covering only about 2,700 acres, brought in $8 million in bids, including one bid for nearly $6.6 million. Binkley Geo Resource LLC provided that bid, offering a record $14,000 per acre for a parcel that covers slightly more than 470 acres. Binkley shares its business address with two other winning bidders—Kelsy South LLC and High Valley LLC—while the Geysers Power Company LLC also won two of the parcels. The auction was the BLM's second competitive geothermal leasing, following new rules established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. See the BLM press release and the list of winning California bids (PDF 21 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

All of the bidders for leases in The Geysers will benefit from a project announced by Calpine Corporation on August 15th. Calpine and the City of Santa Rosa plan to expand The Geysers Recharge Project, which injects treated wastewater from Santa Rosa into The Geysers steam field, replenishing the water that is lost to power production. The project started operating in 2003, injecting 11 million gallons per day into a well that is between 1.5 and 2 miles deep. That project boosted power production at The Geysers by about 85 megawatts. The new expansion project will inject another 1.62 million gallons of water per day, increasing power production by up to 11 megawatts. Calpine is the largest geothermal power producer at The Geysers, operating 19 power plants that can generate up to 750 megawatts of power. See the Calpine press release and the company's Web site for The Geysers.