Geothermal/Visual Resources

From Open Energy Information

Geothermal Visual Resources

Visual Resources
Present, Potentially Affected

Infrastructures from geothermal energy development can impede visual appeasement. While the impacts associated with geothermal projects are minimal, city, state and county regulations require management plans to mitigate disturbances to wildlife, surrounding communities and recreationalists.

Visual Resources Impacts & Mitigation

Geothermal projects cause minimal visual impacts both during development and operation. Typical impacts and mitigation measures include:

Painting and Texturing:

  • Paint or texturize the wellheads, fencing, pump motors and motor control buildings a non-reflective, flat, earth tone to match surroundings. Complete this action within six-months of construction.
  • Limit or omit commercial messages, advertisements, to discourage graffiti on infrastructure. Clean all graffiti immediately upon discovery


  • Avoid light pollution by constructing light fixtures in active work and storage areas with hoods, screening, or shields to direct the lighting downward.
  • Temporary lighting on rigs will only be used for short durations during operational hours.

Steam Plumes:

  • Use well venting to mitigate the volume of visible steam plumes. To decrease particulate matter, direct geothermal fluids from the wellhead to a portable silencer.


  • Plant native trees, shrubs and grasses as a buffer to strengthen the natural characteristics of the natural landscape. This mitigates the visual impacts of the power plant, transmission and pipelines.


  • All disturbances and restoration efforts such as re-vegetation, seeding, access roads, well pads, contoured and filled areas are to match the pre-construction condition of the surrounding landscape and natural characteristics.

Soil and Dust:

  • All unused excavated areas will be re-contoured and re-graded. Water application to the construction area will mitigate fugitive dust. Road management plans would insure the optimal construction of new roads and well pads to decrease cut-and-fill impacts.


  • All new constructed buildings are not to exceed height limitations outlined in the management plan.
  • Temporary construction equipment is to be removed after drilling and testing has concluded.
  • Only the wellhead will extend above the well pad.
  • To make transmission lines visible to aircraft carriers and decrease collisions, install aerial marker balls on power lines.
  • Avoid construction atop ridgelines and summits and adjacent to distinguished landscapes to mitigate visual impacts to surrounding communities or recreationalists.
  • Bury utility cable and pipelines when possible
  • Use existing right-of-way to share access roads and existing buildings to decrease land color and texture contrasts. If new roads are needed, use natural topography and reclamation tactics to guide construction.