Eye On Boise

Idaho sees run on geothermal leases on state endowment lands; schools could benefit

Workers at U.S. Geothermal Inc.’s Raft River power plant in Southern Idaho monitor flows from one of the plant’s hot water wells. The plant is Idaho’s first commercial geothermal power plant.
Workers at U.S. Geothermal Inc.’s Raft River power plant in Southern Idaho monitor flows from one of the plant’s hot water wells. The plant is Idaho’s first commercial geothermal power plant.

Idaho’s in hot water – and that could be good for the state’s schools. There’s been a run on geothermal leases on state lands – 80 applications in the past month and a half – and now Idaho’s retooling its geothermal lease rules in hopes of eventually making millions for schools, the main beneficiary of earnings from the state’s endowment lands. Two North Idaho lawmakers laid the groundwork for this two years ago with legislation to promote all kinds of alternate energy development on state endowment lands, from wind on the plains to biomass in the forests.

“Anytime you do that on endowment lands you win,” said Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, who co-sponsored the bill two years ago with Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene. “We’ve got to find other resources for schools, and I think this is a big part of that puzzle.” You can read my full Sunday story here at spokesman.com.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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