Lake Tahoe, Nevada - Yesterday, the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior signed a memorandum of understanding at the annual Lake Tahoe Summit that asserts the commitment to goals established by the State to protect the Salton Sea by accelerating conservation and exploring opportunities for geothermal development in the Salton Sea area. This announcement comes on the deadline of the County of Imperial’s Solicitation of Interest for Dust Suppression Projects at the Salton Sea, a local initiative to assist the State of California’s administration in accomplishing Salton Sea restoration goals that were established in October 2015.
“This is a huge step forward in the County’s continued efforts to restore the Salton Sea,” stated District 4 Supervisor Ryan E. Kelley. “The commitment pledged by President Obama’s Administration and the State today is a testament to the hard work the County and its many partners and Salton Sea stakeholders have done to get to this point and to bring attention to the dangers the shrinking Sea poses to all of Southern California and the massive potential for base load energy development.”
Along with the signing of the MOU, other initiatives were announced, including:
- The release of a Request for Information (RFI) by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program to gather industry input on options available to the federal government for a potential aggregated power purchase of 100-250 MW of new construction geothermal electricity generated in the Salton Sea area for delivery over a 10-year or 20-year contract period to serve regional federal load.
- The Water Funder Initiative announced a goal to provide $10 million over five years to support Salton Sea restoration.
- The DOE will convene a forum on Salton Sea renewable energy potential to accelerate development of geothermal energy resources in California, especially the Salton Sea.
- The DOE is investing $29 million in two research projects on enhanced geothermal systems that can help improve the economic and technical feasibility of geothermal energy, which could greatly boost funding for Salton Sea restoration.
- The announcement by the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service that a partnership between the Salton Sea Authority and the Sierra Valley conservation Planning Program will receive more than $17million to help spur critical air, water, and wildlife habitat conservation planning. This funding will be matched with contributions from the partnering agencies.