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Senate Committee Advances Key Geothermal Energy Bills

JUNEAU – Yesterday, the Senate Resources Committee approved two key pieces of legislation from Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, co-chair of the Senate Resources Committee and chair of the Senate Energy Committee. Senate Bills 242 and 243 both address geothermal energy.

“I began the journey toward helping Alaska realize its geothermal energy potential two years ago and am thrilled that we have finally arrived at a package of incentives that will help move Alaska closer to realizing the dream of having geothermal energy among its energy options,” Senator McGuire said.

SB 242 provides an incentive for the exploration and development of geothermal resources that is similar to those currently in statute for oil and gas projects. It allows a company exploring for geothermal resources to receive a credit against their future corporate income taxes for expenses incurred in exploring for, and developing a geothermal resource. SB 243 assists companies in developing geothermal resources discovered in commercial quantities on state land by lifting the 10 to 15 percent royalty payment obligation currently in state statute. SB 243 instead levies the current federal royalty of 1.75% for the first 10 years, and 3.5% thereafter on geothermal resources.

“It is a common sense effort to make geothermal power projects economically viable and produce more affordable and reliable electric power for homes and businesses,” explained Senator McGuire. “Geothermal can play a major part in meeting the future energy needs of the Alaska Railbelt and other regions.”

The two bills will help provide the incentives necessary to attract world-class geothermal development to Alaska; and potentially help establish a new, sustainable economy in Alaska. 

“Geothermal electrical generation has been used for decades all over the world and creates “green” jobs. Alaska can now join other states and nations using geothermal sources to create a safe and secure source of electricity,” said Senator McGuire.

The two bills go next to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration

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