The city of Ketchum has opted to extend its analysis of whether the privately-owned Guyer Hot Springs west of town could be used to produce clean energy or for another public resource.

City Council members approved on Dec. 20 an extension of a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Ketchum-based company Natural Energy Resources to cooperate on studying potential public uses of the springs system near the Warm Springs base of Bald Mountain.

An MOU between the city and Natural Energy Resources first enacted in May expired in late August. Another extension expired on Nov. 30. The latest extension is for an indefinite period.

The extension provides a framework for the two parties to continue to conduct due diligence as to whether a public-private partnership could benefit Ketchum and make additional use of the geothermal resource.

Guyer Hot Springs is controlled by Natural Energy Resources—directed by Ketchum attorney and businessman Brian Barsotti—and the Cimino family. Hot water from the springs is used to heat a small number of homes in the area.

The agreement will provide time “to evaluate potential public uses, production capacity/water rights, and high-level financial analysis,” a Dec. 20 city staff report states.

The city has set a goal of pursuing clean energy. Federal grants would likely be necessary to develop the hot springs into a project benefitting the public, city staff have stated. Establishing public ownership of the hot springs would increase the potential for receiving federal funds, including the $1 billion infrastructure bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden, the city report states. 

Load comments