Thursday, October 3, 2019

USA, California: Improving The Permitting Process For Lithium Extraction From Geothermal Brine at The Salton Sea

3 Steps to Improve the Lithium and Geothermal Permitting Process (Panorama Environmental, Inc.)

Hells Kitchen 2 - Darrell Cornett, Darco Productions, El Centro, California, USA. Hells Kitchen Geothermal Fields Salton Sea California 2017. 3rd Place 2017 GRC Geothermal Photo Contest.

Susanne Heim, Principal at Panorama Environmental and Graeme Donaldson, Controlled Thermal Resources, General Manager collaborated to provide input to the California Energy Commission on approaches to improve the permitting process for lithium extraction from geothermal brine at the Salton Sea. Their recommendations include:
  1. State funding for a study to support the US Army Corps of Engineers adjustment of the limits of the Salton Sea to reflect current circumstances. This would remove a regulatory hurdle for extraction of lithium from areas that were previously inundated by the Salton Sea.
  2. Creating a centralized tracking system for lithium project permitting by various state regulatory agencies, requiring regular reporting from regulators on the status of the permit process, and providing training to regulators on the lithium extraction process.
  3. Encourage advanced procurement of geothermal power through the IRP and resource adequacy process to create  new market opportunities for lithium extraction from geothermal brine.
If these steps are taken, the resulting geothermal and lithium development at the Salton Sea present opportunities to:
  1. Generate geothermal power to address the State of California needs for baseload renewable energy to meet policy objectives for renewable energy integration and greenhouse gas reduction. 
  2. Achieve State objectives for creating a reliable domestic supply of lithium to power the electric vehicle market.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, read the full memo here or contact us (Panorama Environmental, Inc.) to discuss!