Friday, October 2, 2015

USA: "Geothermal’s “day is going to come, and it’s going to come very soon" - Jonathan Weisgall

Felicia Marcus: No simple solutions on California water (The Desert Sun)

Speakers at the Southern California Energy and Water Summit in Palm Springs on Thursday called for a clean energy mix that incorporates battery storage, wind, round-the-clock geothermal energy, smarter demand management, greater energy-sharing with neighboring states, and a host of less glamorous measures.

The southern shore of the Salton Sea is home to one of the strongest geothermal hotspots in the world, but only one new plant has opened there since 2000, due to the technology’s high up-front costs. That’s frustrated local officials, who say new development could help fund Salton Sea restoration while generating clean energy for California 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, tried unsuccessfully to get a dedicated carve out for geothermal in the 50 percent clean energy bill. But Jonathan Weisgall — vice president of legislative affairs for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy — which owns most of the geothermal plants by the Salton Sea — predicted that geothermal’s “day is going to come, and it’s going to come very soon,” if California wants to hit 50 percent clean energy.

“Renewables are going from the appetizer to the entrée,” Weisgall said.

V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, had a specific idea for how California can promote geothermal development. White suggested that state officials buy geothermal energy to power the State Water Project, the system of pumps and aqueducts that carries water from California’s wet north to its parched south. That system accounts for 2 to 3 percent of the state’s overall electricity consumption, and it requires power around the clock.

“That would be a tangible, good-faith demonstration of the state’s commitment to restore the Salton Sea,” White said.

Read More........