Bills aim to foster geothermal power 

By Rena Delbridge at Alaska Dispatch: In terms of punctuation marks, Railbelt natural gas supplies are a bit of question mark, and fuel prices in the Bush are a big exclamation point. So, it’s safe to assume Alaska’s electricity producers and consumers would appreciate a little stability. At least one company wants to transform Alaska’s geothermal resource into a reliable source of electricity, and is hoping for a way around an oddball state law that taxes hot water pulled from state land.

Ormat Technologies, a Nevada-based geothermal company that develops projects and runs power plants, is interested in water kept hot by volcanic activity at Mount Spurr in Southcentral, and at Mount Makushin near Dutch Harbor. Public Policy Manager Paul Thomsen told a legislative committee on Wednesday that his company strongly supports two bills offered by Sen. Lesil McGuire — one that would scrap the state’s substantial royalty tax on hot water, and one that would offer tax credits for exploration and production. Read more

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