Topics and Considerations for Developing State Geothermal Regulations

Research output: NRELPresentation


The intent of this document is to provide guidance to states for developing geothermal regulations that would be inclusive of all geothermal technologies (e.g., conventional and non-conventional power production and direct-use applications) with applicability in all states. As part of this project, the NREL project team reviewed and catalogued existing state and federal geothermal regulations, compiled best practices from geothermal and other extractive industries, and established a Geothermal Regulatory Stakeholder Working Group (SWG) to advise and review the geothermal regulatory guidance. The SWG met approximately monthly over the course of one year to review and discuss specific topics as relevant to this geothermal regulatory guidance. This report is broken into five main sections, which were identified in coordination with the SWG as the main topics for inclusion. Within these sections, a list of considerations within each category were identified and, in some cases, relevant examples from existing state and federal geothermal regulations are included to further illustrate the proposed considerations. This report includes the following topics: 1) Geothermal Resource Definition; 2) Leasing process; 3) Exploration approval process; 4) Drilling/wellfield development approval process; 5) Underground injection control process In addition, a list of 'key considerations' summarized from this report are included below. This list is not meant to be exhaustive as each state's regulatory landscape is unique, rather these are meant to be concepts that can be considered when developing and/or updating existing geothermal regulations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the Geothermal Rising (GRC) Conference, 1-5 October 2023, Reno, Nevada

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-87645


  • drilling
  • exploration
  • geothermal
  • leasing
  • regulation


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