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.

Is geothermal fracking the same as natural gas fracking?

Ormat geothermal plant in Nevada
Ormat geothermal plant in Nevada

Geothermal power plants product renewable energy 24/7. New techniques for getting at geothermal heat deep in the earth are similar to natural gas fracking, but is it as harmful? Altenergy Stocks looks at the issues in a level-headed, deatailed article.

Advocates for both natural gas and geothermal are up in arms over whether fracking for enhanced geothermal systems should be scrutinized with the same parameters as natural gas

DOE to fund offshore wind, geothermal with chump change

$43 million is allocated for offshore wind and $38 million will go for geothermal research. Gosh, how completely underwhelming. The US still has no offshore wind, which is just sad and an indication of how backwards we are and how unable we are to arrive at agreements. We do have huge geothermal reserves but geothermal – a proven and reliable form of energy – generally gets treated as the idiot stepson of renewable energy. This piddly funding is further demonstration of that.

Thus DOE is spending a total of $81 million for R&D on important forms of renewable energy. Contrast that with the several hundred million a day we spend on our various wars and you can an idea of how deranged our priorities are.

West Ford Flat geothermal. The Geysers

The Geysers in northern California has been produced geothermal power 24/7 for decades.