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Washington State Geothermal Lease (3-WA-a)

The State of Washington is still in the process of developing and finalizing the rules and regulations related to geothermal leases on state lands; however, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WSDNR) expects the process to be similar to the process for leasing state lands for oil and natural gas development. The rules and regulations for oil and natural gas development, including various rules regarding leasing, are promulgated in RCW 79.14 Mineral, Coal, Oil and Gas Leases As the WSDNR is still developing procedures for geothermal leasing, the developer is strongly encouraged to contact the WSDNR early in the process.

State Geothermal Lease Process

3-WA-a.1 - Has the land been selected or nominated for auction?

The WSDNR holds public auctions to issue leases for state owned lands. The WSDNR holds auctions when industry and individuals have expressed an interest in leasing lands. If a track of land has not already been selected or nominated for auction then the developer will have to apply for the land to be nominated.

3-WA-a.2 – Application for Lease Nomination

The developer must file an Application for Lease Nomination to nominate state lands for leasing. The WSDNR has not yet developed an application for geothermal nominations; however, an oil and gas application is provided for comparison ( Application for Oil and Gas Lease Nomination). The WSDNR will review an application to determine the impact the request might have on the management of the lands involved, and to ensure that the request is in accordance with state laws and regulations.

3-WA-a.3 - Is the Land Approved for Auction?

The WSDNR will not approve lands for auction unless leasing the lands is in the best interests of the state.

If nominated lands are not approved for auction, the developer may modify the application and try again. Unless the WSDNR approves the land for auction, the process cannot continue.

3-WA-a.4 – Post Notice of Public Auction

The WSDNR will publish notice of public auctions for the leasing of state owned lands.

3-WA-a.5 – Hold Public Auction

The WSDNR will hold the public auction at the time, date, and place specified by the WSDNR’s notice.

3-WA-a.6 – Geothermal Lease Application

If the developer wins the auction they will be required to fill out a Geothermal Lease Application. The WSDNR is still in the process of developing a Geothermal Lease Application; however, for comparison a sample Oil and Gas lease is provided ( Sample Oil and Gas Lease).

3-WA-a.7 – Negotiate Lease Terms

The developer will have to work with the WSDNR to negotiate the terms and conditions of the lease, including royalties related to geothermal production.

3-WA-a.8 – Geothermal Lease

The WSDNR will issue the Geothermal Lease. The developer is required to follow all terms and conditions in the lease.

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