On September 17th the Bureau of Land Management will offer 141 parcels totaling 386,837 acres for competitive bidding of geothermal leases. The parcels located in Churchill, Eureka, Elko, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Washoe, and White Pine counties in Nevada will be the largest geothermal lease sale to ever take place in the state. Nevada’s geothermal resources are ranked among the best in the country and customers benefit from reliable around the clock renewable power that is not tied to fuel costs. NV Energy currently has 486 MW of installed nameplate geothermal energy capacity in the state through 19 different projects.
The BLM announcement of the lease sale noted:
“In keeping with the Administration’s goal of strengthening America’s energy security, the BLM supports an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes oil and gas, coal, hydroelectric, and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar – all of which can be developed on public lands.”
BLM started leasing geothermal projects in 1978, and currently manages over 800 geothermal leases. 50 of them are in producing status generating 1,648 MW of power across the country, enough to power 500,000 homes and accounts for 40% of the country’s geothermal energy production. Geothermal leases on BLM lands generate over $12 million in Federal royalties annually with 50% going to states, 25% going to counties and the final 25% going to the federal government.
Earlier this year, TWW released an economic impact study on rural renewables in Nevada and provided a case study of the potential economic benefits of new geothermal facilities being built in Nevada. Specifically the case study examined adding a 75 MW facility in Lyon County which would result in:
The total direct and indirect benefits of construction activity in Lyon County could be an estimated $14.9 million in total output ($10.9 million direct output + $4 million indirect and induced output) produced by 26 employees (18 direct employees + 8 indirect employees) earning a total of about $2.3 million ($1.8 million direct earnings + $505,000 indirect earnings) during the construction period.
The total direct and indirect benefits of annual operations in Lyon County could be an estimated $8.9 million in total output ($7.4 million direct output + $1.5 million indirect and induced output) produced by 42 employees (21 direct employees + 21 indirect employees) earning a total of about $3.1 million ($2.4 million direct earnings + $715,000 indirect earnings). The benefits will include an annual direct fiscal benefit to Lyon County of an estimated $323,100.