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Last week, Representative John Curtis (R-UT) introduced legislation to amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 and remove overregulation for power production projects.



"Geothermal is a critical piece of our energy strategy and helps to ensure a future that is affordable, reliable, and clean," said Rep. Curtis. "This bill ends unnecessary hurdles and supports the development of projects, rewarding innovation to meet our energy needs.”


The Department of Energy (DOE) has projected that Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) could contribute up to 60 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2050, accounting for 8.5% of the U.S. generation capacity. Yet, developers face lengthy and costly environmental reviews, along with cumbersome leasing and permitting processes, resulting in timelines that extend far beyond those of other power production projects.


Utah is a case study for geothermal as proven by UTAH Forge, a dedicated underground field laboratory sponsored by the Department of Energy for developing, testing and accelerating geothermal breakthroughs.


The Department of the Interior is holding up projects that already have a Record of Decision due to the Department’s alleged fear of litigation. In other words, after a company has spent substantial time and resources getting a project permitted, Interior is still withholding notices to proceed, drilling permits, and other authorizations because of litigation threats against a project.


This bill is simple, it would force the Department to continue issuing authorizations unless a Federal court vacates the underlying lease. This will ensure that the Department does its job and cannot arbitrarily block geothermal projects from moving forward.


For bill text, click here.


Additional coverage:

Daily on Energy