Tuesday, February 11, 2020

USA, Alaska: State Senate Considers Geothermal Exploration Bill

Committee discusses geothermal exploration, hemp (Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman)

A bill that would resurrect a state leasing program for geothermal leasing was up for its first hearing in the Senate Resources Committee, Feb. 10.

In Senate Bill 161 geothermal exploration be licensed similar to the way oil and gas exploration licensing is done, with the license converted to conventional leases if a commercial-scale discovery is made.

The geothermal bill, SB 161, is likely to be amended to give added protection to surface landowners who use small-scale geothermal resources for local use, such as home heating, according to comments made during the hearing Monday on the bill. Alaska had an active geothermal leasing and exploration program several years ago when a Nevada company was interested in tapping high temperature hot water near Mount Spurr, an active volcano west of Anchorage. The exploration did not result a commercial development and the project was abandoned. The state program subsequently lapsed.

The bill would give the Department of Natural Resources more flexibility for geothermal leasing, extending the lease term from three to five years to allow an explorer more time for research, securing of surface permits and to do field work needed to prove up a resource. The bill also doubles the amount of acreage that can be held for exploration from 51,200 acres to 100,000 acres because underground geothermal resources tend to be dispersed over large areas.

From the Global Geothermal News archives: