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Nevada Geothermal Environmental Review(9-NV)

For geothermal projects in Nevada exceeding a capacity of 70 megawatts (hereafter “utility facilities”), developers must comply with the Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA): NRS 704.820 et seq. The developer must submit an application to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUC) for a UEPA permit. The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources must review the application, but the PUC decides whether to approve or deny the permit after the appropriate environmental studies have been conducted and a hearing has taken place. Within the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Division of Environmental Protection has jurisdiction over the administration of environmental issues in the state.

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Nevada Federal

Environmental Review Process: Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act National Environmental Policy Act
Environmental Review Process Agency: Nevada Division of Environmental Protection United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense
Type of Environmental Review (Leasing Stage): None Typically an Environmental Assessment (EA) is conducted for individual leases. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required for programmatic environmental reviews or when reviewing multiple lease parcels in a single review.
Type of Environmental Review (Non-Invasive Exploration): None A categorical exclusion is available for all activities covered under a Notice of Intent to Conduct Geophysical Exploration (NOI), subject to extraordinary circumstance review. Where the activity results in an extraordinary circumstance, an EA or EIS is required.
Type of Environmental Review (Invasive Exploration): None Temperature Gradient Holes are permitted under a categorical exclusion and subject to the same conditions as non-invasive exploration as discussed above. Any other exploration drilling activity to confirm the existence of a geothermal resource will likely require an EA.
Type of Environmental Review (Drilling): None Production drilling activities will likely require an EA, but depending on the nature of the specific project, could require an EIS.
Type of Environmental Review (Power Plant Siting): Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act review process Most Plans of Utilization (POU)s require an EA or EIS.

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