Wednesday, September 13, 2017

USA, California: Legislation that Excluded New Geothermal Energy Development Fails at Last Hurdle

Jerry Brown's western grid plan is dead in Sacramento, at least for now (Desert Sun)

California Gov. Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown's grand plan to bring Wyoming wind power to California and export solar power to neighboring states won't get a vote in Sacramento before the legislative session ends Friday, following opposition from ratepayer watchdogs, labor unions, the utility industry, community choice advocates and even some environmental groups.

Assemblymember Chris Holden, a Pasadena Democrat who chairs the Assembly's energy committee, said his legislation to make good on Brown's plan is being tabled until next year. In a statement, Holden said lawmakers "will continue our work on the issues over the fall and likely revisit it in the second half of this two-year session.”

The final version of Holden's bill didn't include provisions to promote the development of geothermal power plants at the Salton Sea, despite a late push from Imperial Valley officials and some clean energy advocates. Geothermal plants are more expensive to build than solar and wind farms, but unlike solar and wind they provide climate-friendly energy around the clock. Geothermal development could also provide an economic boost for Imperial County, where the unemployment rate is often as high as 25 percent.