The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) has released the “Salton Sea Revenue Potential Study” which estimates that development of renewable energy in the Salton Sea area could generated $4 billion in revenues for Salton Sea restoration over a 30 year period. The study considered revenue potential from development of geothermal, solar and biofuels, as well as other revenue sources. Geothermal development alone could produce two gigawatts of power.
The once vibrant Salton Sea ecosystem is under increasing stress from a number of factors, including water transfers to costal California. State and local governments are committed to restoring the Sea, but have yet to identify a feasible funding source. The Salton Sea Authority, a joint governmental agency that includes IID, is currently undertaking a feasibility and funding study in conjunction the State of California to determine potential revenue streams. The Authority is in discussions with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to review and augment the IID study using NREL expertise in long term development and marketing of renewables in the western United States. NREL recently concluded its own study entitled “Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West.”
Image courtesy of Flickr by Travis Gertz.