Geothermal Land Access in Utah
At a Glance
|Leasing Agency:||Utah Department of Natural Resources|
|Competitive Land Leasing:||Yes, discretionary.|
|Noncompetitive Land Leasing:||Yes, discretionary.|
|Royalty Rate Competitive Land Lease:|
|Royalty Rate Nonompetitive Land Lease:|
|Royalty Rate Calculation Basis:|
|Contacts/Agencies:||Utah Department of Natural Resources|
State Land Access Process
In order to develop geothermal resources in Utah, developers must obtain a lease and, any required easements to access state lands, including any necessary permits to encroach on existing state Rights-of-Way (ROWs). The state agency with administrative authority for geothermal leasing differs depending on whether the land is trust land or state land that is non-trust land. In addition to obtaining a geothermal lease, the developer cannot lawfully extract geothermal fluids without first obtaining a permit to appropriate geothermal fluids from the Utah Division of Water Rights.
Within the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (UDFFSL) administers non-trust state land in Utah, including the sale, exchange, and lease of (non-trust) state lands for geothermal development purposes. The UDFFSL issues geothermal leases in accordance with R652-20-3400. Geothermal steam leases are issued only on lands where the state of Utah owns both the surface and mineral rights (fee simple), unless the lessee agrees to accept a special addendum to the standard geothermal lease agreement. Developers may submit an application to the UDFFSL and the process is non-competitive.
The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (UTLA) administers state school and institutional trust lands (collectively, “trust land”) in Utah, including the sale, exchange, and lease of trust lands for geothermal development purposes. R850-27-200. The UTLA will only issue geothermal steam leases on parcels of land in which they hold both the surface and mineral rights (fee simple). The UTLA has the discretion to issue leases competitively and non-competitively. R850-27-500. Leases are limited to 640 acres unless specifically approved by the director. R850-27-200.
If the project requires new/modified access onto or access across state lands for project actives not covered under the geothermal lease, the developer may apply for an easement by submitting an application to the UFFSL and abiding by any terms and conditions in the issued easement document. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) protect the State’s highway ROWs and facilitates and coordinates other highway users in order to provide for safe and efficient operation of Utah's highways. A developer wishing to construct, maintain, repair, operate or use any pole line, surface or subsurface line or other facility in the UDOT ROW must submit an Application for ROW Encroachment Permit to the UDOT.
The UDOT requires a grant of access permit for any project proposing to construct a new driveway, other curb cut, or local street connection on a State Highway. The grant of access permit applies to constructing a new driveway or vehicular access, modifying or relocating an existing driveway or access, or to closing an access on the State Highway ROW.
Local Land Access Process
Policies & Regulations
- An Introduction to Electric Power Transmission
- Guide to Permitting Electric Transmission Lines in Utah
- UDOT - Statewide Utility License Agreements
- Utah - T-223 Application for Right-of-Way Encroachment Permit
- Utah - UC 54-14 - Utility Facility Review Board Act
- Utah - UC 54-2 - Public Utilities Definitions
- Utah - UDOT - Accommodation of Utilities and the Control and Protection of State Highway Rights of Way
- Utah Code Annotated
- Utah DEQ Energy Pre-Design Program
- Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure