Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Subtitle V. Other Sources of Energy; Energy Policy
Chapter 20. Geothermal Energy

Chapter 20. Geothermal Energy.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.2-2000. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the State Water Control Board.

"Correlative right" means the right of each geothermal owner in a geothermal system to produce without waste his just and equitable share of the geothermal resources in the geothermal system.

"Geothermal energy" means the usable energy that is produced or that can be produced from a geothermal resource.

"Geothermal resource" means the natural heat of the earth and the energy, in whatever form, that is present in, associated with, or created by, or that may be extracted from, such natural heat, as determined by the regulations of the Department.

"Geothermal system" means any aquifer, pool, reservoir, or other geologic formation containing geothermal resources.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.2; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2001. Application.

The provisions of this chapter regarding (i) permitting, well regulations, reservoir management, and allocation apply to geothermal resources at temperatures above the minimum temperature set forth by the Department pursuant to § 45.2-2004 and (ii) leasing requirements, royalties, or severance taxes apply to geothermal resource applications producing more than the volumetric rate set forth by the Department pursuant to § 45.2-2004.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2002. Ownership.

Ownership rights to a geothermal resource are in the owner of the surface property underlain by the geothermal resource unless such rights have been otherwise explicitly reserved or conveyed. Nothing in this section shall divest the people or the Commonwealth of any rights, title, or interest they might have in any geothermal resource.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2003. Findings; clarification of nature of the resource.

Geothermal resources are found and hereby declared to be sui generis, being neither mineral resources nor water resources. No mineral estate shall be construed to include geothermal resources unless such inclusion is explicit in the terms of the deed or other instrument of conveyance.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.5; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Resource Regulation.

§ 45.2-2004. Powers and duties of the Department.

A. The Department has jurisdiction and authority over all persons and property, public and private, necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter and has the power and authority to make and enforce regulations and orders and do whatever is reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Any regulations adopted by the Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be adopted in compliance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

B. The Department shall:

1. Consult with the Board in carrying out its powers and duties pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;

2. Develop a comprehensive geothermal permitting system for the Commonwealth that provides for the exploration and development of geothermal resources;

3. Adopt regulations necessary to provide for geothermal drilling and the exploration for and development of geothermal resources in the Commonwealth. Such regulations shall be based on a system of correlative rights;

4. Establish minimum temperature levels and volumetric rates in order to determine Department jurisdiction over geothermal resource development. In establishing such temperature levels, the Department shall set (i) minimum temperature levels for permitting, well regulations, reservoir management, and allocation of geothermal resources and (ii) minimum volumetric rates for geothermal leasing, royalties, and severance taxes, as necessary. The Department shall review established temperature level and volumetric rate requirements biennially and revise the figures as necessary. Revision of temperature levels or volumetric rate requirements shall not occur more often than every two years, and such revision shall not operate retroactively; and

5. Consult with the State Department of Health as necessary to protect potable waters of the Commonwealth and to carry out the powers and duties of the Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.7; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2005. Reinjection policy.

The Department, the Board, and the State Department of Health shall jointly develop and revise as necessary a policy on reinjection of spent geothermal fluids. Such policy shall refer to the reinjection into the ground of waters extracted from the earth in the process of geothermal development, production, or utilization.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.8; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2006. Cancellation or suspension of permit.

If the Department determines, after a public hearing held in conjunction with the Board, that a holder of a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter has willfully violated any provision of such permit or any provision of this chapter, the Department may cancel or suspend such permit for cause or impose limitations on the future use thereof in order to prevent future violations.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.9; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2007. Penalties; injunctions.

A. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a civil penalty of not less than $10 or more than $250 for each violation.

B. In addition, upon violation of any provision of this chapter or regulation of the Department adopted pursuant to this chapter, the Department may, either before or after the institution of proceedings pursuant to subsection A, institute a civil action in the circuit court where the well is located for injunctive relief to restrain the violation and for any other or further relief that the court deems proper.

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.10; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-2008. Judicial review.

Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the Department pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-2006 is entitled to judicial review of such final decision in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

1981, c. 506, § 45.1-179.11; 1986, c. 615; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.