Beneath California’s dying Salton Sea is gigawatts of geothermal energy

salton sea

The Salton Sea is shrinking, contaminated by agricultural run-off, reeks in the baking summer, and desperately needs help. Geothermal energy could be the answer. The area has a potential 2.9 GW of geothermal energy ready to be harnessed. That’s more power than all but very few large coal and nuclear plants generate. Developing geothermal energy in the Salton Sea area would boost the economy and provide badly needed funds to clean up the sea.

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,” says the Imperial Irrigation District.

New transmission lines would need to be built. Getting siting permits and battling NIMBYs can take years. (The area is so desolate there might hopefully only be a few NIMBYs.) The alternative, letting the sea die, is far worse. If it completely dries then clouds of toxic dust will blow everywhere. Also, it is currently a crucial migratory route for birds.