U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Geothermal Technologies Office
Energy Department Develops Regulatory Roadmap to Spur Geothermal Energy Development
June 5, 2013
The Energy Department today issued a Geothermal Regulatory Roadmap that will help
developers navigate regulatory requirements at every level of government to
deploy geothermal energy projects. In partnership with the Bureau of Land
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, the Energy
Department enlisted the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to convene key
federal, state, and local permitting officials, along with industry
representatives, to identify potential opportunities for streamlining the
efficient and responsible development of geothermal energy in the United States.
This resource builds on the Energy Department's broader efforts to diversify the
nation's energy portfolio and create clean energy jobs.
In an Energy Department report published in 2011, industry stakeholders
identified the permitting timeline as one of the biggest barriers to increasing
geothermal power plant development. The roadmap will help strengthen
collaboration between federal and state agencies, speed the review of proposed
projects, and implement steps that advance efficient and responsible evaluation.
Streamlining the permitting process also helps lower development costs and
reduces financial risk for utilities.
The roadmap includes distinct flowcharts that address all federal and state
regulatory requirements for developing a geothermal resource—from land use and
leasing plans, to drilling exploratory wells, to developing a geothermal power
plant. Comprehensive federal and state regulatory process flowcharts have been
completed for eight geothermal-rich states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho,
Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. The next states slated for review are
Colorado and Texas.
The roadmap is now available, and also includes links to permit
application forms, policies, and supporting documents. Permitting resources for
the first tranche of states are now complete and available, and resources for
Colorado and Texas will be available later this year.
The Energy Department's Office of
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and
facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies
and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental
quality, and economic vitality. EERE supports innovative technologies that
reduce both risk and costs of bringing geothermal power online. Learn more about
the Department's efforts to develop geothermal energy. Learn more
about how the Obama Administration is cutting timelines and improving outcomes
for federal permitting in this Report to the President.