First Idaho Geothermal Project on Public Land since the 1980s Receives Permit to Drill: Project to include 22 wells and mitigation for sage-grouse and ferruginous hawks



BLM Office:

Burley Field Office

Media Contact:

Ken Frederick

BURLEY, ID – Just this week, Burley Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Manager Ken Crane gave the nod to Walker Ranch Energy for a geothermal energy project that will take place 13 miles south of Malta, ID. Eventually, the project will produce 25 megawatts (MW) of energy. Once in production, the project will generate royalties which will be shared between the BLM and the State of Idaho.

While the power plant itself will be built on private property, up to 22 production and injection wells will be drilled on approximately 200 acres managed by the Burley Field Office. The geothermal fluids produced from BLM land would be piped to a binary power plant, heating a secondary fluid that will flash to steam and turn turbines that generate electricity.

“While the timeline for power production is not yet known, we are pleased to move forward with Walker Ranch Energy as they begin the process of adding clean, renewable energy resources to Idaho’s portfolio,” said Ken Crane. 

A team of BLM specialists worked closely with the company to develop a project design that will specifically reduce impacts to wildlife, visual resources, vegetation, soils, and air quality. This innovative design includes an electric submersible pump placed down into wells that are within three miles of a sage-grouse lek (breeding ground), virtually eliminating any noise disturbance. Walker Ranch will also run power lines in trays located along the pipelines instead of along overhead lines, eliminating perching opportunities for predatory birds. Construction and routine maintenance activities will be restricted during sensitive time periods for both sage-grouse and ferruginous hawks.

For more information about the Walker Ranch Energy geothermal project, please contact Burley Geologist Steve Lubinski at (208) 677-6667.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.