Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., said Monday the signing of the new energy law is the "critical first step" toward unlocking Nevada's geothermal energy resources.
"Nevada is literally a hotbed of geothermal energy," he said.
He helped author the bill's provisions to simplify the leasing process and reduce red tape in the royalty system.
"Unless renewable geothermal power derived from public land is more competitive with other power sources, little of Nevada's great geothermal potential will ever be developed," he said.
He said alternative-energy sources are important because too much of the energy America relies on is controlled by foreign "and sometimes unstable nations."