Regulatory and Permitting Analysis

NREL evaluates the deployment impacts of regulatory and permitting requirements on geothermal energy. In addition, NREL provides technical regulatory assistance to federal agencies.

Hand filling out form at safety site.
Understanding geothermal regulatory and permitting requirements is especially crucial on federal lands.

NREL regulatory and permitting analysis provides national, state, and local decision makers with information critical to making informed regulatory policy decisions and understanding the impact of regulatory frameworks.


  • Impacts analysis – Evaluation of the geothermal energy deployment impacts of existing regulatory and permitting requirements at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Process analysis – Evaluation of opportunities to streamline regulatory and permitting processes applicable to geothermal project development
  • Technical assistance – Available to federal, state, and local entities developing geothermal regulatory and permitting guidance


GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Barriers – An Analysis of Nontechnical Barriers to Geothermal Deployment and Potential Improvement Scenarios, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Crossing the Barriers: An Analysis of Land Access Barriers to Geothermal Development and Potential Improvement Scenarios, Transactions (2017)

Geothermal Development and the Use of Categorical Exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Transactions (2014)

Geothermal Permitting and NEPA Timeline Analysis, Transactions (2014)

View all NREL publications about geothermal research.


Aaron Levine

Senior Legal and Regulatory Analyst