The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced last week that it plans to make more than 190 million acres of federal land in 12 western states available for geothermal energy development. DOI's Final Geothermal Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) identifies 118 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 79 million acres of National Forest System lands that could be opened to future geothermal leasing, potentially leading to 5,540 megawatts (MW) of new geothermal power capacity by 2015.

The study found that identified geothermal resources in the West could produce 9,057 MW of power, while another 30,033 MW of power could be generated from conventional geothermal resources that have not yet been discovered.