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Implement Policies for Geothermal Electricity Generation

The final step in developing geothermal electricity generation policy is to implement policies that will achieve geothermal power generation goals. This includes addressing any legal and regulatory challenges and your state's geothermal resources and barriers.

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

Legal and Regulatory Challenges

Geothermal power generation technologies have some exclusive attributes that suggest new policies, rather than updating current policies, may be most successful in supporting development.

In some respects, geothermal power generation challenges are similar to those of other renewable energy technologies in that widespread deployment will require improved transmission access. However, legal and regulatory challenges regarding geothermal energy generation are somewhat unique. Consider these two specific issues when determining new policy:

  • Technological maturity—enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) are still in a research, development, and demonstration phase. Supporting EGS will require different policies than those that support co-production or hydrothermal development

  • Project timeline—Hydrothermal projects take longer than other renewable energy technologies, approximately 4–7 years, to develop and get online

  • Development risk profile—even conventional geothermal energy production systems, such as hydrothermal, have relatively high risk early in the development process, but low risk during operations

State Resources

Because the knowledge about geothermal resources, available transmission, and existing regulatory landscape varies widely between states, it will be very likely that state and local policy measures developed in one state may not be applicable in neighboring states.

The best policy approach will be dictated by your state's available geothermal resources; current barriers to, and opportunities for, geothermal development; and existing priorities and goals for renewable energy. Ultimately, policies should be designed to address the geothermal barriers that are most prominent in your jurisdiction.

After implementing your geothermal energy generation policy, it is critical to track and monitor its success. If results are not in accord with your goals, you may need to change or modify your policy.