Geothermal/Economic Values

From Open Energy Information

Geothermal Economic Values

Economic Values
Present, Potentially Affected

  • BLM-NV-WN-ES-08-01-1310, NV-020-08-01 (Blue Mountain Geothermal Well Field and Power Plant EA)
  • CA-96062042 (Fourmile Hill Geothermal Development Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) / Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Transmission)
  • DOE-EA-1759 (EA for Geothermal/Exploration at Southwest Alaska Regional Geothermal Energy Project Naknek, Alaska)
  • DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGinness Hills Geothermal Area)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091 (Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0026-EA (Clayton Valley Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2012-0214-EA (Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0006-EA (Gabbs Valley and Dead Horse Wells Geothermal Exploration Projects EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA (EA for Airborne Electromagnetic Survey at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-CC-ES-11-10-1793 (Salt Wells Geothermal Energy Projects EIS for Geothermal/Power Plant Development Drilling)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2010-0004-EA (New York Canyon Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2009-0059-EA (Department of Energy Loan Guarantee for U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Facility in Vale, Oregon for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • NV-020-07-EA-01 (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration)
  • NV-063-EA06-098 (Reese River Valley Geothermal Exploration Project Environmental Assessment)
  • Southline Transmission Line (Environmental Impact Statement for the Southline Transmission Line Project)
  • Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line (Environmental Impact Statement for the Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line Project)

Communities near geothermal sites are concerned about impacts from geothermal energy development. Insecurities exist about market stability and job opportunities. Questions such as the following are raised to predict what type of major changes will incur.

  • What type of job opportunities will be created?
  • Are the jobs temporary or permanent?
  • What kind of people will geothermal construction attract?
  • What new infrastructure, if any needs to be built to accommodate geothermal employees?
  • Will a percentage of the royalty be paid to the city or county?

Economics are broken up into three components:

  1. Direct impacts are used to predict change in a local setting. Factors affecting geothermal projects include, operating expenditures such as capital, construction labor, wages, taxes and dividends.
  2. Indirect impacts have a wider scope than direct impacts and are more difficult to quantify. These impacts are items that are needed to satisfy the direct impacts. They are derived from anything that affects the product’s lifecycle. Examples include: jobs from distributors or suppliers to the company, secondary industry jobs and employee taxes.
  3. Induced impacts pertain to when employees purchase goods for personal use with personal finances outside of the work environment.

Local economies are largely focused on the induced impacts in order to plan what infrastructure to build or improve.

Economic Values Impacts & Mitigation

Cultural differences

In areas of low socioeconomic status, the workforce demographic is mostly unskilled. A limited number of community services and programs are available to improve education, professional skills, housing and nutrition. This is especially true on tribal lands where several geothermal projects occur. Mitigating these conditions include partnering with governing bodies to provide public services to improve quality of life and socioeconomic standing.


Long and short-term jobs result from geothermal energy development. Types of on-site jobs include: “Welders; mechanics; pipe fitters; plumbers; machinists; electricians; carpenters; construction and drilling equipment operators and excavators; surveyors; architects and designers; geologists; hydrologists; electrical, mechanical, and structural engineers; HVAC technicians; aquaculture and horticulture specialists; researchers; and government employees.” Examples of offsite job opportunities exist at restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, and grocery stores. All of these opportunities have the potential to impact local businesses positively or negatively. Geothermal has the potential to positively impact the overall local economy, but also hurt local businesses since geothermal has a high demand for labor. Socioeconomics and Geothermal Energy


Interest payments and royalties for land leasing are paid to state, county and federal entities. Geothermal is one of the renewables that is transforming the energy platform as state governments dedicate geothermal leasing royalties for educational development. This localized economic movement has created several opportunities to schools around the country.