The U.S. Department of Energy on Aug. 8 issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) based on an environmental assessment done by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on an Ormat Nevada plan to explore geothermal resources in Oregon.
BLM is involved because the exploration involves federal lands, while DOE plans to provide funding help for this exploration work. DOE is proposing to provide the applicant with a financial assistance award funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The property is in Lake and Harney counties, Ore. The projects would involve the drilling, testing, and monitoring of up to 13 geothermal exploratory wells on public lands administered by the BLM and up to three geothermal exploratory wells on private lands located near Glass Buttes, Ore.
The objective of the proposed projects is to evaluate the potential of the geothermal resources in the Glass Buttes area. Any future exploration and/or development that may follow the conclusion of the proposed projects would require additional permit applications and prior approval from the BLM.
Ormat Nevada has secured leasing rights to about 37,500 acres of BLM lands in south central Oregon to conduct exploratory drilling for potential geothermal resources. These leasing rights, effective from February 2009 until February 2019, were issued by BLM to the company through an open bid auction process which concluded in December 2008.