Thursday, December 31, 2015

USA, California: Report Looks at Economics of Geothermal Energy Development at Salton Sea

Report: Don't count on geothermal to save Salton Sea (The Desert Sun)

Someday, geothermal power plants could play a major role in funding Salton Sea restoration.

But that day — should it ever come — won't be anytime soon. And it'll probably be less lucrative than Salton Sea advocates hope.

Those are the key takeaways from a new report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a widely respected, federally funded lab in Colorado. Researchers found that energy development could generate up to $1.5 billion to help save California's largest lake — far less than previous estimates. The vast majority of that money would depend on technological breakthroughs or political changes.

Industry officials also say the National Renewable Energy Laboratory overestimated the cost of building a new geothermal plant. If that's the case, it's possible developers could pay a small Salton Sea restoration fee, despite what NREL says.