The Bureau of Land Management has approved the Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area project in southern Owens Valley, Inyo County, authorizing three geothermal lease applications for exploration and development on approximately 4,460 acres of public land.
This decision also amends the Resource Management Plan to allow geothermal leasing for exploration and development within the entire 22,800-acre Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area. Future proposals for leases are subject to additional site- and project-specific environmental analysis and other requirements for consultation, coordination and public involvement.
“The selected alternative allows for the greatest management flexibility to facilitate development of the geothermal resource,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “Specifically, by approving the three leases and opening the area to allow for the exploration of geothermal resources, the BLM is better able to respond to an increasing interest in geothermal leasing opportunities on federal lands, align with current executive orders and policy, and balance environmental concern.”
The BLM remains committed to facilitating the development of renewable energy resources under the Administration’s “all of the above” approach to American energy independence. This decision supports Executive Order 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth and Secretary’s Order 3349: American Energy Independence. The Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area project supports $1 billion in investments; $72 million annually during peak construction; $3 million annually during operation; and can provide roughly 117,000 homes with electricity.
According to the California Energy Commission, geothermal energy produced 11,528 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in 2018, which is the latest data available. Combined with an additional 700 GWh of imported geothermal power, geothermal energy produced 5.9% of the state’s total system power.