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Legislation Would Enhance Reliability, Spur Oil, Gas and Renewable Jobs, Geothermal Industry Tells Senate Committee
Washington, DC (May 10, 2015)
-- The Geothermal Energy Association today applauded a bi-partisan set of legislation before the Senate Energy Committee. The bills “would help expand geothermal power by addressing some of the most important barriers to geothermal development in the U.S.” according to Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, GEA. GEA singled out 562, S. 1057. (Note S. 822 is included as a provision of S. 1057.)
S.562, Sponsored by Senator Heller (R-NV) and co-sponsored by Senator Risch (R-ID) would provide help for new geothermal projects to shorten delays at one of the most critical and risky phases of development – exploration, GEA explained. “Given the multiple NEPA processes required for geothermal development, and the inclusion of a restriction for lands involving extraordinary circumstances, we believe this process improvement can be made without risk to the environment,” GEA said. This legislation would provide geothermal exploration the same treatment afforded oil and gas exploration under the 2005 Energy Policy Act – a limited categorical exclusion -- with the additional restriction for lands or resources viewed as involving extraordinary circumstance.
S. 1057, Sponsored by Senator Wyden (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Senator Ester (D-MT) proposes several initiatives that GEA supported. It would:
- set a 50,000MW National Geothermal Goal;
- direct federal agencies to identify priority areas for development;
- allow federal oil and gas lease holders to obtain a non-competitive geothermal lease to facilitate coproduction of geothermal from their wells -- today 25 billion barrels of hot water is produced annually from oil and gas wells within the United States that is wasted;
- authorize cost shared exploration of geothermal energy resources
- re-authorize the use of geothermal lease revenues to support the expansion of our knowledge of the resource base; and
- facilitate new discoveries, by allowing the limited non-competitive leasing of adjacent lands where a new discovery has been made.
According to GEA, the Wyden bill would “help spur the discovery and development of the substantial untapped geothermal energy resources here in the U.S.”
“The clean baseload geothermal energy produced as a result of these important measures will help the nation achieve a more diverse and reliable electricity supply, even as it reduces emissions, helps state and local economies, and creates jobs in both the oil and gas, and the renewable sectors,” GEA stated.
The full text of GEA’s statement is available at: http://geo-energy.org/reports.aspx
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit www.geo-energy.org
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