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Washington Office Public Affairs
Release Date: 07/14/09
Contacts: Frank Quimby , 202-208-6416  
  Jeff Krauss , 202-452-5128  

Geothermal Lease Sale Generates More Than $9 Million

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A competitive auction of lease parcels for geothermal energy resources on federal public lands in California, Nevada, and Utah generated $9,098,304 in revenue for 255,347.158 acres. The high bid per-acre was for a Nevada parcel at $3,800 per acre by Ormat Nevada Inc . The highest bid paid for a parcel was $2,649,150 by TGP Development Co. LLC, for 5,045.168 acres.

"Geothermal resources on America's public lands offer significant environmental and cost benefits for energy producers," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "This sale reflects the growing interest in developing these renewable public resources to meet the energy needs of Western communities. Together with the solar and wind energy initiatives we have launched, these projects will help us build a clean energy economy for the 21st century."

The sale, conducted by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in Reno, Nev., offered 124 parcels totaling 334,842 acres. One hundred and eight parcels were offered in Nevada (323,222 acres); 15 in California (11,392 acres); and one in Utah (228 acres). The auction results were as follows:

  • Nevada: 243,727.158 acres sold for a total of $8,909,445 
  • California: all 15 parcels sold for a total of $131,126
  • Utah: the parcel sold for $57,250

Fifty percent of revenues from the lease sale – including bonus bids, rentals, and royalties collected on the leases – is distributed to the State in which the leased lands are located, and 25 percent is distributed to the counties where the leases are located. The remaining 25 percent is distributed to the Bureau of Land Management to be used for the processing of geothermal leases and geothermal use authorizations.

Geothermal resources, such as steam and hot water, are used directly to heat buildings and in greenhouses and aquaculture, and indirectly to generate electric power. Geothermal energy accounts for 17 percent of the electricity generated from renewable sources in the United States. Half of the nation’s geothermal energy production occurs on federal land, much of it in California and Nevada, and 90 percent of the potential resources are located on public lands as well. Other states with geothermal potential include Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.

The BLM presently manages 560 geothermal leases, with 58 leases in producing status generating about 1,275 megawatts of installed geothermal energy on public lands. Over the course of a year (2007) these BLM geothermal leases produced a total of 4,600 gigawatts of electrical power and provided alternative heat sources for direct-use commercial endeavors. These producing leases generate over $12 million in federal royalties each year.

A Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) relating to the authorization of geothermal leasing was completed in October 2008 and the Record of Decision was signed in December 2008. The Record of Decision amended 114 Bureau of Land Management resource management plans and allocated about 111 million acres of Bureau-managed public lands as open for leasing. An additional 79 million acres of National Forest System lands are also legally open for leasing. The completion of this document is anticipated to result in a significant demand for new leases for geothermal resources.

The reasonable foreseeable development scenario in the Final PEIS estimates a potential for 5,540 megawatts (MW) of new electric generation capacity from resources in the project area (12 Western States, including Alaska) by 2015 through 111 new geothermal power plants. It estimates an additional 6,600 MW from another 133 plants by 2025.More information is available on the Bureau of land Management website at ( 



Last updated: 10-20-2009