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Assess Local Industry and Resource Potential for Geothermal Electricity Generation

The first step to creating effective geothermal policy is to assess the local industry and your area's resource potential. As you assess your area, consider the historical activity of the local geothermal industry, take a look at the current geothermal resource availability, and identify possible stakeholders you can contact for more information. This will provide you with insights into the scale of the geothermal opportunity in your area, and allow you to design policy that is realistic and feasible while addressing your area's existing strengths and weaknesses.

Step 1 Assess the Local Industry and Resource Potential Step 2 Identify Challenges to Local Development Step 3 Evaluate Current Policy Step 4 Consider Policy Options Step 5 Implement Policies Increased Development

Review Historical Activity of Local Industry

The following activities will help you identify what is, and is not, functioning well with your locality's current policy as well as lessons learned from past activities.

  • Check public records on investments and site testing to gain knowledge of local resources
  • Contact current geothermal power generation experts in the area (if any) to identify successful development practices
  • Locate proposed projects to understand recent trends and challenges. You can view the Geothermal Power Generation map, which highlights current and planned generator nameplate capacity by state to help you locate proposed projects in your area. See a map of geothermal electricity generation facilities from NREL's Open Energy Info Web site. The Geothermal Education Office provides a map of worldwide geothermal energy locations and capacities.
  • Meet with developers and project owners to get their input on local market conditions and opportunities

If there are no active developers, or there has never been active development, examining why or why not is a critical component in understanding the broader market context of your area and designing relevant policy.

Characterize Resource Potential

To obtain a comprehensive understanding of the resources in your state or region, additional research and survey work may be necessary. Policymakers can take initial steps to support the industry by funding resource potential research. Members of regional universities, U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, the geothermal trade organizations, such as the Geothermal Energy Association, and the U.S. Geological Survey, may be able to provide guidance on potential contractors who could carry out detailed analysis and identification of local and regional resources.

See the Geothermal Resource Potential map, which shows locations of identified hydrothermal sites and favorability of deep enhanced geothermal systems. Visit the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy to find data, maps, research, and more information on geothermal resources.

Identify Stakeholders

By identifying local stakeholders, you identify potential supporters and opponents of geothermal power generation and garner a sense of workforce potential and equipment vendors. To identify stakeholders, contact traditional energy developers, utilities, regulators, environmental advocacy groups, well drilling companies, state energy offices, state and federal regulators, and other geothermal power generation experts.

Next, identify challenges your area faces to geothermal energy generation development.