Monday, December 7, 2015

USA, California: Imperial Irrigation District is Fighting for More Renewable Energy

On Salton Sea and energy, it's IID versus the world

The Imperial Irrigation District has a habit of picking big fights.

Imperial Irrigation District general manager Kevin Kelley
(Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)
For a dozen years, the Imperial Valley water agency waited for lawmakers in faraway Sacramento to live up to their promise to fix the Salton Sea, which threatened public health and the impoverished region's economy as its shoreline retreated. But with no solution in sight, the district threatened last year to cut off water supplies to the Coachella Valley and San Diego County if the state didn't act.

Then this summer, the district sued the nonprofit corporation that manages most of California's electric grid, claiming the quasi-governmental agency had stifled clean energy development in the Imperial Valley and tried to "crush IID out of existence." If it succeeded, district officials warned, higher electricity prices would ensue for valley residents.

In both cases, district officials felt they had their backs against the wall. In both cases, they said, they had no choice but to take on powerful interests in the name of protecting the Imperial Valley.