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Bill to Elevate Salton Sea Resources Could Lead to Broad Geothermal Attention State-Wide

Amendments to a California bill direct the California Public Utilities Commission to “consider” (not mandate) geothermal energy resources in the Salton Sea basin in planning for the state’s 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard. SB 760 passed by a vote of 52-24, was referred Monday to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, and awaits hearing (Pe.com). Amendments likely to be proposed will expand the focus to all geothermal resources state-wide.

Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez who presented the amendments was quoted (Ivpressonline.com): “With the closure of the San Onofre nuclear facility and the anticipated retirement of other power plants, we have an opportunity to pursue a path of clean, green energy. I firmly believe that Salton Sea geothermal resources can help anchor Southern California energy needs, improve air quality, and maintain the state’s progress in reducing greenhouse gases, while facilitating the growth of the desert renewable energy economy.”

The direction to CPUC to consider geothermal resources in its RPS goals is in line with geothermal industry needs, several GEA member companies in California indicated — such as EnergySource, CalEnergy, Ormat, and U.S. Geothermal. GEA drafted a letter to both the Utilities and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee of the California Assembly that states:

On behalf of the members of the Geothermal Energy Association, I wish to express our strong support for SB 760 as proposed to be amended that encourages development of all geothermal resources. GEA represents over 100 US companies, many in California, that employ thousands of workers in California and the West. We believe the direction that this legislation provides to the PUC is appropriate and timely. There are significant untapped resources that can support the state’s clean energy goals, and we believe the PUC should examine carefully the full suite of values that geothermal brings as it moves forward. Expanding geothermal power will create local jobs and provide economic stimulus while supporting achievement of the state’s renewable and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. California has been a leader in geothermal power, which is now being developed across the Western States and in 70 countries around the world. This legislation will help California retain its leadership role.

Source: Geothermal Energy Association Weekly Newswire