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Regulatory Policy Provisions for Geothermal Electricity Generation

Regulatory policy provisions can help address regulatory barriers that can play a large part in hindering or expanding geothermal electricity generation development. Barriers may include resource access, leasing requirements, and the need to secure a permit for virtually every stage of the development cycle (i.e., exploration, drilling, utilization, commercial use, etc.). Likewise, permit acquisition is sometimes hindered by non-standard application processes or lack of clarity regarding permitting requirements.

The following policy provisions can help address geothermal electricity generation development barriers.

Policy Provision Description
Delineated Resource Ownership Clarifies ownership for geothermal resource areas that cross multiple property owners and ownership jurisdictions. Critical in areas where geothermal resource ownership is not clearly defined or geothermal resource ownership is not regulated as a traditional groundwater resource (e.g., some states define geothermal resources as mineral resources and regulate them as such).
Expanded Transmission Access Identifies critical resource areas. Helps develop a transmission plan that incorporates critical resource areas into the transmission network.
Single-Agency Permitting Consolidates regulatory approval under a single governing body. When single agency permitting is not feasible, identifying a lead agency to coordinate approvals between agencies will facilitate development.
Standardized Leasing Practices Ensures a clear process for regulating resource access. Serves to minimize impacts of resource speculation through allowances for non-competitive leasing under specific circumstances where speculation is prevalent.
Standardized Permitting Process Defines permit requirements and ensures that regulatory agencies act on permit applications within an appropriate timeframe. Provides a clear process for permitting non-conventional facilities as may be necessary for dual-use resources like co-production or combined heat and power co-generation facilities.

Learn more about other policy options to consider.