Geothermal/Social Values

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Geothermal Social Values

Social Values
Present, Potentially Affected

  • DOE-EA-1759 (EA for Geothermal/Exploration at Southwest Alaska Regional Geothermal Energy Project Naknek, Alaska)
  • DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA (EA for Airborne Electromagnetic Survey at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010–2012–0005–EA (EA for Development Drilling at New York Canyon Geothermal Utilization and Interconnect Project for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Transmission, Geothermal/Well Field)
  • NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line (Environmental Impact Statement for the Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line Project)
  • Vantage Pomona Heights (Environmental Impact Statement for the Vanage to Pomona Heights 230kV Transmission Line Project)

Social values address factors that are more difficult to quantify such as environmental justice, beliefs, attitudes, and human equality standards. There are evaluations, assessments and legislation that incorporate these factors to provide fairness to all peoples. In regards to Environmental Justice, Executive Order 12898 requires, “each Federal agency shall make achieving Environmental Justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low¬ income populations.”

To promote collaborative dialogue between industry and community, surveys are conducted to gather perceptions about the proposed site development. The results can guide land use planning and education if perceived risks do not align with the actual risks. Three common categories used for evaluation are: lifestyle, culture; and community setting and aesthetics. Amongst these three, lifestyle is the most important. Reducing impacts to lifestyles can gain community acceptance and trust.

Department of Land and Natural Resources

Social Values Impacts & Mitigation

Social impacts can last generations. Processes to change attitudes and gain community acceptance can happen by identifying typical impacts and mitigation measures:

Culture: Use socioeconomic surveys to understand the culture before site selection to gauge the aptitude of a new industry.

Economics: Whether or not the power plant will bring competition to the existing industry is important to communities. Understanding the site developer’s long-term goals reveal how much and how long existing lifestyles will have to change. Often times geothermal energy development fosters long-term economic stimulation, especially to underdeveloped areas. Stable and thriving economies, however, may view another industry as a competitor. To mitigate project resistance, choose a site where the community can benefit from aspects provided by geothermal development.

Department of Land and Natural Resources