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Geothermal Energy Bringing Millions of New Dollars to Federal, State, and Local Governments, Industry Report Concludes

Jan 15, 2009 - /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

According to a new report issued today by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), changes made in 2005 to federal geothermal leasing laws are bringing in millions of new and additional dollars to federal, state, and county government coffers. In just two years, FY 2007 and FY 2008, $82 million in new revenues were generated by geothermal activities, according to GEA.

Since 2005, the new policy to competitively lease land for geothermal development has created an impressive new revenue stream for the federal government. Three competitive geothermal lease sales in 2007 and 2008 for parcels in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah generated $56 million in income. In addition to revenues from the lease sales, income from federal royalties has also continued to increase. Overall, geothermal leasing and production generated $40.87 million in 2007 and $42 million in 2008.

A total of $13.5 million from revenues in 2007 and 2008 was retained by the federal government and placed in the Geothermal Royalty Fund for use by the Department of Interior. The revenues generated by the changes made in 2005 have allowed the federal government to implement the new law and support the administrative, environmental, and other actions needed to process geothermal leases and hold new lease sales.

Six states -- California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah -- collectively received $27 million for 2007 and 2008 as their share of federal geothermal funds, according to the report. "The legislature of each state can decide how to use these funds provided they give priority to the parts of the State socially or economically impacted by the development of geothermal resources so that they can plan, construct and maintain public facilities, and provide public services," the report states.

One of the most novel developments from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was the distribution of funds directly to county governments: $4.3 million in 2007 and $9.1 million in 2008. Local governments used these new funds to "...support departments impacted directly or indirectly by geothermal development, such as public services, emergency services, and roads and bridges," according to the report.

Future trends appear to indicate that this geothermal windfall to the federal, state, and local governments will continue. "It would appear that federal, state, and county revenues should continue to increase and their distribution to more counties and states expand as additional areas are leased and developed in the future," commented Timothee Neron-Bancel, GEA Research Association and author of the report.

The full report, Geothermal Revenue Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by Timothee Neron-Bancel, is available to download free of charge from the GEA website at http://www.geo-energy.org/.

For More Information Contact: Leslie Blodgett, 202-454-5241 Timothee Neron-Bancel, 202-454-5261

Geothermal Energy Association

CONTACT: Leslie Blodgett, +1-202-454-5241, or Timothee Neron-Bancel,+1-202-454-5261, both of Geothermal Energy Association

Web Site: http://www.geo-energy.org/