After a decade during which commitments made by the State of California to restore the Salton Sea have not been fulfilled, a new vision has emerged: a smaller but sustainable Salton Sea that enables restoration while at the same time harnessing its vast renewable energy potential. Under legislation enacted in 2013, planning and implementing projects at the sea will be driven locally by the Salton Sea Authority, with support from the State of California.

The Initiative will first focus on developing up to 1,700 megawatts of new geothermal energy at the Sea – enough to power more than one million homes. Not only is there more geothermal generating capacity in the Imperial Valley than anywhere else in the U.S., but geothermal energy can be produced with minimal impact on landscape and habitat. It also provides a steady, reliable source of energy to the state electricity grid that is not subject to weather or seasonal fluctuations.

Core components of the Salton Sea Restoration & Renewable Energy Initiative include:

  • Designating the Salton Sea as a renewable energy development area
  • Pledging IID’s land holdings and mineral assets, as well as potentially those of the federal government, for generation projects such as utility-scale geothermal, solar and wind, subsurface mining operations and emerging resources (algae and solar gradient ponds)
  • Pursuing public-private partnerships and environmental alliances to develop new renewable energy resources
  • Continuing to work with state and federal regulatory agencies and investor-owned utilities to execute power purchase agreements and plan for the development of new transmission lines, such as a new 500 kilovolt line from eastern Riverside County to IID’s Imperial Valley substation