In 2003, the state of California assumed responsibility for the restoration of the Salton Sea, if restoration were determined to be feasible. Now, experts who have studied the Salton Sea – both environmental groups and academia – all believe that it is possible to restore the Salton Sea by making it smaller but sustainable. The state of California has the chance to redeem its promise to the people of the Imperial and Coachella valleys, to be their partner in a coordinated and collaborative program that will enhance their quality of life while restoring the natural environment and combatting climate change.
Projects sited on exposed lakebed will serve a dual purpose: producing renewable energy while doubling as groundcover to mitigate air emissions. 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.