Heat from the Earth
Geothermal Energy is heat (thermal) derived from the earth (geo). It is the thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid (that fills the fractures and pores within the rock) in the earth's crust.
Geothermal energy is tapped, and utilized to generate electricity. Because the amount of heat in the earth is so great, and the amount of heat used to generate electricity is a small fraction of that heat, geothermal energy is considered a renewable energy resource.
The Role of the Forest Service
The Forest Service, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, provides opportunities for the exploration, development, and production of geothermal resources on National Forest System lands.
- The Forest Service processes exploration permit applications on unleased National Forest System lands.
- The Forest Service makes leasing decisions and reviews leasing decisions using the NEPA process. Decisions are used to consent, or deny consent, of issuing federal geothermal leases by the Bureau of Land Management.
- The Forest Service cooperates with the Bureau of Land Management’s actions in processing applications for lease activities such as drilling, installing pipelines and power lines, and constructing geothermal power plants.
- The Forest Service provides the Bureau of Land Management with reclamation standards.
Mammoth Pacific geothermal Power Plant, Casa Diablo, Inyo National Forest.
Geothermal drilling at Newberry Volcano, Deschutes National Forest.
Location of Geothermal Resources in the Western US
Geothermal leasing, exploration and development activities on National Forest System lands are taking place in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Click map for larger view.
Links of Interest
Geothermal Resources Leasing Programmatic EIS The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the USDA Forest Service (FS) have prepared a joint Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to analyze and expedite the leasing of BLM-and FS-administered lands with high potential for renewable geothermal resources in 11 Western states and Alaska.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management: The purpose of this MOU is to facilitate interagency coordination and establish policies and procedures to implement Section 225 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. Section 225 requires the coordination of geothermal leasing and permitting.