RAPID/Geothermal/Nevada/Land Access

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Nevada Geothermal Land & Geothermal Resource Access(3-NV)

In Nevada, the owner of the surface estate owns the rights to the underlying geothermal resources, unless the geothermal resources have been otherwise reserved or conveyed. NRS 534A.050. Over 80% of the land in Nevada is managed by the federal government, the highest percentage of any state. The majority of existing geothermal power plants are on private land. The Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL) only administers approximately 3,000 acres of state trust land and does not have a specific lease and/or corresponding administrative code section for leasing those lands for geothermal resource development.

Lease to Use State Lands

Developers can apply for a general state land lease for the express purpose of developing geothermal resources by submitting an Application to Use State Lands to the NDSL and participating in the competitive bid process. NRS 322.010 to NRS 322.040. The NDSL will advertise the lease offering and subsequently hold a public auction. NRS 321.335(4) and 321.335(5). Even if the developer succeeds with the highest bid, the Nevada State Board of Examiners (NSBE) and the Nevada Interim Finance Committee (NIFC) must approve of the lease sale. Leases are required to be on blocks of at least 40 acres of land and cannot exceed 1,280 acres. NRS 322.020.

ROW Across State Lands

Developers may obtain a right-of-way (ROW) across state land by submitting an Application to Use State Lands, the same form for a lease, to the NDSL. NRS 322.010 to NRS 322.050. Unlike an application for a lease, an application for a ROW across state lands does not invoke the competitive bidding process. ROW applications do not require approval from either the NCBE or NIFC, but the final authorization must be on a form prepared by the Nevada Attorney General. NRS 322.060(3).


If the project requires the permanent (for one year or longer) encroachment on any Nevada streets, highways, or other ROWs, the developer will need to submit an Occupancy Permit Application to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). NRS 408.423(1). Depending on the requested encroachment and duration of any necessary construction, the NDOT may require a traffic control plan, and/or drainage report.

More Information

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

Nevada Federal

Leasing Agency: Nevada Division of State Lands Bureau of Land Management
Competitive Land Leasing: Yes, public auction administered by the Nevada Division of State Lands.
Noncompetitive Land Leasing: None

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