Senate Passes Key Geothermal Energy Bill
JUNEAU - The Senate today passed Senate Bill 243, sponsored by Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, which reduces the royalty rate on geothermal resources and establishes a regulatory regime for geothermal exploration and development. “We can look to Iceland to see the power geothermal resources bring to a society,” said Senator McGuire. “Geothermal power is a consistent, clean, renewable power that could transform the energy picture in Alaska.” The bill enacts a royalty regime on geothermal resources similar to the federal one, with geothermal resources paying 1.75% of gross revenues for the first ten years and then 3.5% thereafter. “The royalty rates in current statute made geothermal development prohibitively expensive in Alaska,” Senator McGuire added, “and since the royalties are just passed on to ratepayers, really were just a tax on Alaskans.” By modernizing the regulatory regime and reducing the royalty rates, SB 243 modernizes Alaska’s statutes related to geothermal resources. Major projects are currently being evaluated in the Akutan, Naknak and Southcentral regions.
Senator McGuire said that by opening the door to development of Alaska’s rich geothermal resources, SB 243 will spur development and jobs in clean technology, while providing reliable power to Alaskans.SB 243 goes next to the House of Representatives for consideration.