Boise, Idaho [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Through a long-term lease for an undivided interest in geothermal rights, U.S. Geothermal has increased its eastern Oregon-based Neal Hot Springs project holdings to 6,167 acres (9.6 square miles) and increased ownership of the overlapping area to a majority of the geothermal rights.“The potential for development of Neal Hot Springs property adds an exciting element to our long-term prospects,” said Daniel Kunz, U.S. Geothermal’s President and Chief Executive Officer. U.S. Geothermal is planning a production well drilling program to determine the commercial viability of the geothermal resource, which was first identified in a drilling program completed by Chevron Minerals in 1979. U.S. Geothermal has ongoing negotiations with additional geothermal rights holders in the area. In August 2006, U.S. Geothermal submitted 26 megawatts (MW) of potential power generation from phase one of the Neal Hot Springs geothermal project in response to Idaho Power Company’s (IPC) 100 MW geothermal request for proposal (RFP). To study the impact of the proposed project on the area loads and distribution system, a System Integration Study has been recommended by IPC and is expected to begin this month.