Geothermal Induced Seismicity National Environmental Policy Act Review

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1 Scopus Citations


In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contracted with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to assist the BLM in developing and building upon tools to better understand and evaluate induced seismicity caused by geothermal projects. This review of NEPA documents for four geothermal injection or EGS projects reveals the variety of approaches to analyzing and mitigating induced seismicity. With the exception of the Geysers, where induced seismicity has been observed and monitored for an extended period of time due to large volumes of water being piped in to recharge the hydrothermal reservoir, induced seismicity caused by geothermal projects is a relative new area of study. As this review highlights, determining the level of mitigation required for induced seismic events has varied based on project location, when the review took place, whether the project utilized the International Energy Agency or DOE IS protocols, and the federal agency conducting the review. While the NEPA reviews were relatively consistent for seismic monitoring and historical evaluation of seismic events near the project location, the requirements for public outreach and mitigation for induced seismic events once stimulation has begun varied considerably between the four projects. Not all of the projects were required to notify specific community groups or local government entities before beginning the project, and only one of the reviews specifically stated the project proponent would hold meetings with the public to answer questions or address concerns.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2017
EventGeothermal Resources Council 41st Annual Meeting - Geothermal Energy: Power To Do More, GRC 2017 - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: 1 Oct 20174 Oct 2017


ConferenceGeothermal Resources Council 41st Annual Meeting - Geothermal Energy: Power To Do More, GRC 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-68854


  • Environmental review
  • Geothermal
  • Induced seismicity
  • Mitigation


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