A new bill could improve geothermal energy developments in the U.S.

July 30, 2015 0 By Erin Kilgore

The bill has bipartisan support.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington state have sponsored a bill called “The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015”, a bill that has been designed to support geothermal energy advancements in the United States, by removing important barriers that hinder geothermal development.

The legislation includes several provisions, among which is a 50,000 MW National Geothermal Goal.

In addition to the national 50 GW goal for developing this renewable power, this legislation would also direct federal agencies to identify priority areas for development, permit federal gas and oil lease holders to attain a non-competitive geothermal lease to facilitate coproduction of geothermal power, and grant limited categorical exclusion to geothermal exploration test projects, as long as the involved lands are without extraordinary circumstances.

The geothermal energy industry is delighted with the new legislation.

U.S. Senate - Geothermal Energy BillProponents of this renewable energy source are thrilled by the introduction of this new bill. The executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), Karl Gawell, said that it would help the United States “achieve its geothermal potential by addressing some of the most important barriers to geothermal development in the U.S.”

The GEA is a trade association made up of U.S. companies that support the expansion of geothermal power use and support the worldwide development of geothermal resources for electrical power production and direct-heat uses.

Terry Page, Enel Green Power North America’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, was also pleased with the new bill and said that the United State has geothermal resources that are world class, and that these resources are waiting to be developed to generate base-load renewable energy. He added that “The policy changes contained in The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 would help remove some of the barriers to geothermal development and help spur new investment in an expanded U.S. geothermal industry.”

Enel Green Power North America owns and operates three geothermal facilities in America, including the 33 megawatt (MW) Stillwater geothermal site.

The geothermal energy bill was introduced late last week, and is currently making its way through the legislative process. It was considered by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

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