Volcano power: Alaska plans another geothermal lease sale 

By Lisa Demer | Anchorage Daily News: In Lower Cook Inlet, 60 miles southwest of Homer, active and spectacular Augustine Volcano stands as the state’s latest hot prospect for geothermal energy.

The Division of Oil and Gas intends to offer explorers the chance to bid for leasing rights on the entirety of Augustine Island, its tidelands and surrounding waters, nearly 66,000 acres of state-owned land in all.

It’s volcano power for sale, Alaska style.

The geothermal lease sale is scheduled for May 8, coinciding with an offering of new oil and gas drilling rights around Cook Inlet, where Alaska’s oil boom began, and the Alaska Peninsula, which has been little explored.

The U.S. Geological Survey calls geothermal “the plus side of volcanoes,” and Augustine is just one site being examined in Alaska.

A 2010 state law sets a goal of 50 percent of the state’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2025 including hydropower — which is the big one — but also wind, solar, plant-based biomass, tidal and geothermal power.

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