RAPID/Geothermal/Idaho/Exploration

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Idaho Geothermal Exploration Permitting(4-ID)

In Idaho, no permit is needed for pre-drilling exploration activities or general geothermal exploration on private or state lands. Developers must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Idaho Department of Water Resources (DWR) prior to drilling small exploratory wells less than six inches in diameter and less than 1000 feet deep. DWR will review the NOI, and determine whether it should be approved. Developers are also required to secure a bond to cover the down hole (plugging).

A Permit to Drill for Geothermal Resources is required for any activity that will encounter groundwater and specifically for exploration wells that are drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas. "Exploratory well" is a well drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas. "Exploratory well" does not include holes six (6) inches in diameter or less if they are used for gathering geotechnical data such as, but not limited to, heat flow, earth temperature, temperature gradient and/or seismic measurements, provided said holes are not greater than one thousand (1000) feet in depth below land surface and provided the material medium is not intended to be encountered. Developers must submit the appropriate drilling application to DWR for review, a Drilling and Operations Plan, and the necessary fee. Developers are required to file a bond with DWR, and file drilling records upon completion.

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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

Idaho Federal

Pre-Drilling Exploration Permit Agency: Idaho Department of Water Resources Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service
Pre-Drilling Exploration Permit: In Idaho, no permit is needed for general geothermal exploration on private or state lands. [1] Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009)
Drilling Exploration Permit Agency: Idaho Department of Water Resources Bureau of Land Management
Drilling Exploration Permit: Developers must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Idaho Department of Water Resources (DWR) prior to drilling small exploratory wells less than six inches in diameter and less than 1000 feet deep. A well drilling permit is required for any drilling activity that will encounter groundwater and specifically for exploration wells that are drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas. "Exploratory well" is a well drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas. "Exploratory well" does not include holes six (6) inches in diameter or less if they are used for gathering geotechnical data such as, but not limited to, heat flow, earth temperature, temperature gradient and/or seismic measurements, provided said holes are not greater than one thousand (1000) feet in depth below land surface and provided the material medium is not intended to be encountered. Exploration wells and production wells are both covered under the Permit to Drill for Geothermal Resources. Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009) (Temperature Gradient Well); Geothermal Drilling Permit (Form 3260-002) (All other drilling activities)

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List of Reference Sources

  1. IDAPA 37.03.04 Drilling For Geothermal Resources Rules (2013).
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