Interior Department finalizes plans for geothermal development in West

Excerpts:

The Interior Department on Thursday approved plans to open 190 million acres of federal lands for geothermal exploration and development.

… Kempthorne said as many as 270 Western communities could benefit from the energy produced by new geothermal resources. The development of those resources would require amending 114 Bureau of Land Management resource-management plans for about 111 million acres of public land. The rest of the geothermal energy would come from 79 million acres of National Forest Service lands.

… So far, watchdog groups such as the Sierra Club have supported the Interior Department's geothermal energy goals, which are shared by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. He wants 20 percent of the state's electricity needs to be met by 2025 through renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The first part of a Bureau of Land Management lease sale scheduled for Friday in Salt Lake City is to auction off parcels slated for geothermal development.