Business, Energy

BLM raises $19.6M through geothermal lease option sale

08.14.07 | Comment?

Originally published at Montara Energy Ventures.

Today, forty-nine land parcels with geothermal leases were auctioned at the Reno, Nevada Bureau of Land Management office. We estimate some 50 people were in attendance at the auction today representing companies including Ormat, Calpine, US Renewables, and Raser Technologies.

Note regarding accuracy: we recorded winning bidder numbers on each parcel and are fairly certain about the identity of the named bidders in this entry, but, this information could be wrong. When the BLM posts the results on their web site, we will revisit our parcel number to bidder number analysis and correct anything that we’ve gotten wrong.

The auction started off with excitement as the first parcel of 470 acres at the Geysers generated spirited bidding between Calpine and US Renewables, the winning bid was $14,000/acre and a walk-off price of $6.5M. That was the high price per acre paid and the highest price paid for any individual parcel. In total, the 6 California parcels totaling 2,711 acres located in the Geysers area, sold for $8M and went to 4 different bidders, Calpine won two parcels, US Renewables two parcels, and two unidentified bidders secured the remaining parcels.

The forty-three Nevada parcels had a much greater distribution of prices and bidders, with the low price paid at $3 and the high price paid at $510 per acre. In total, 122,850 acres were sold for $11.6M and were distributed among 10 bidders. The story in Nevada was Ormat who we believe successfully won the bid on 22 of the 43 parcels accounting for nearly $8.2M of the proceeds.

The remaining twenty-one parcels were distributed among nine different bidders. Six individual bidders were able to secure single properties (disclosure: MeV was one of those companies) accounting for $2.3M. Three bidders won the remaining 15 parcels. We believe we can only identify one of those bidders, Raser Technologies, who won 4 parcels accounting for just over $0.6M. One other unidentified bidder secured 8 parcels accounting for $0.4M and the other secured 2 parcels accounting for $0.1M.

If nothing else, this shows the renewable energy space is hot (please forgive the pun.) It was a highly educational day and a good day for Uncle Sam who put this land to work for the people while raising some cash. We’ll look forward to attending the next BLM auction. And, the auctioneer, Lynn England, was great as were the very helpful (if not a little stressed out) BLM employees.

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