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Key Geothermal Laws
Geothermal Research and Development Laws and Geothermal Leasing and Resource Management Laws are discussed separately below. For discussion on tax and other financial incentives pertaining to geothermal development, see GEA's section on Tax Incentives.


Geothermal Research and Development Laws

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP) recognizes the following laws as authorizing or governing its research and development program in its FY 2011 budget:

P.L. 93-410, “Geothermal Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1974”
P.L. 95-91, “Department of Energy Organization Act” (1977)
P.L. 95-618, “Energy Tax Act of 1978”
P.L. 96-294 “Energy Security Act” (1980)
P.L. 101-218, “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology Competitiveness Act of 1989”
P.L. 101-575, “Solar, Wind, Waste, and Geothermal Power Production Incentives Act of 1990”
P.L. 102-486, “Energy Policy Act of 1992”
P.L. 109-58, “Energy Policy Act of 2005”
P.L. 110-140, “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”

Two of the most important laws providing authorization and direction for DOE's geothermal research efforts are the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the Geothermal Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1976.

  • Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which includes the “Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act of 2007” is the most recent direction and authorization provided by the House and Senate. The Act, codified in Title 42, Chapter 152, Sections 17171-17204 of the US Code is available in PDF format here, or online at: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/42C152.txt. (Accessed by GEA on 8/16/2010).

  • Geothermal Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1974, as codified in Title 30, Chapter 24 of the US Code is available in PDF format here, or online at:   http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/30C24.txt. (Accessed by GEA on 8/16/2010).



Geothermal Leasing and Resource Management Laws

Federal geothermal leasing and resource management is governed by federal law which was significantly modified in 2005 by the John Rishel Geothermal Leasing Amendments passed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).  Leasing provisions as amended and recodified in Title 30, Chapter 23, Sections 1001-10028 of the US Code, are available in PDF format here, or online at http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/30C23.txt (Accessed by GEA on 8/16/2010).

Department of the Interior Regulations:
In 2007, the Bureau of Land Management and the Minerals Management Service finalized new rules and regulations which implement the 2005 EPAct. The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding leasing decisions on Forest Service Land. The final regulations as adopted in 2007 follow:

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