Friday, March 17, 2017

USA, California: Salton Sea Restoration Plan Could Be Big Opportunity for Geothermal Energy Development

California has a new $383 million plan for the shrinking Salton Sea (The Desert Sun)

Royalties from future geothermal energy development could help pay for restoration

After years of delays, California’s plans for the shrinking Salton Sea are finally starting to take shape.

A $383 million plan released by the state’s Natural Resources Agency on Thursday lays out a schedule for building thousands of acres of ponds and wetlands that will cover up stretches of dusty lakebed and create habitat for birds as the lake recedes.

The state’s blueprint focuses on constructing a patchwork of ponds that will spread out along the lake’s north and south shores during the next 10 years. Much of the funding has yet to be approved by the Legislature, and the construction projects will lag behind the pace of the sea’s decline, covering up only a portion of the vast expanses of lakebed that will be left dry and exposed to the desert winds.

The document includes some elements previously proposed by the Imperial Irrigation District and Imperial County in a 2015 plan, including a requirement that the canals and ponds will be built to ensure access to areas where new geothermal plants could be built near the south shore.

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, praised the plan but said questions remain to be answered about the funding after the first four years and what role geothermal energy development could play as a funding source.

Salton Sea Management Program – Phase I: 10-Year Plan........

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