The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to grant a Nevada-based company the right to pursue geothermal energy production on a nine-square mile area near the confluence of the Salmon River and Panther Creek, about 20 miles northwest of the town of Salmon. However, space constraints imposed by environmental restrictions and an only moderately hot source of water are likely to pose obstacles to development of the site.
The initial 10-year lease to Ormat Technologies, a publicly held company headquartered in Reno, Nev., would confer only the exclusive right to develop the 10-20 megawatts geothermal resource. Prior to any ground-disturbing activities, the company would have to submit additional applications for exploration, development and use. However, the decision on the requested lease is based on a “reasonably foreseeable development scenario.”
The Forest Service is inviting public comments on the proposed lease. Comment deadline will be 45 days after publication in the Federal Register, expected for March 17. The draft EIS is available at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=37800.