Geothermal Energy Permitting and Development
The first step in developing geothermal resources on Federal lands is to issue a lease for geothermal resources in a defined area.
Leasing Federal geothermal resources confers on the lessee a right to future exploration and development of geothermal resources within the lease area. However, it does not confer on the lessee the right to conduct any ground disturbing activities to explore for or develop geothermal resources.
The four stages of geothermal resource development within a lease are exploration drilling, development, production, and closeout. Each of the four stages under the lease requires separate authorizations and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance when ground disturbing activities are proposed.