KETCHUM, Idaho (KTVB) -- The U.S. Forest Service is beginning an environmental study of an application to lease public land for a proposed geothermal power plant near the River of No Return Wilderness and where the Salmon River and Panther Creek meet.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the Nevada-based Ormat Technologies has applied for the right to use hot water from Panther Creek Hot Springs to produce power. The plant would feed power into Idaho Power's grid.

The proposed site covers about 9 square miles on the Salmon-Challis National Forest west of Salmon.

A decision on whether to lease the property to Ormat Technologies will be made by the Bureau of Land Management.

Ormat Technologies, which was founded in Israel, operates 31 geothermal power plants in 17 countries.