August 10, 2018 Read More →

Legislation aims to develop Southern California geothermal resources and pumped-storage hydro plants

Palm Springs Desert Sun:

California could dramatically reshape its energy future in the next few weeks.

Two bills are of particular interest to the desert. One of them, from Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, would require utilities to purchase thousands of megawatts of geothermal power, potentially jump-starting development of geothermal power plants at the southern end of the Salton Sea.

The other bill, from Assembly member Bill Quirk, would require utilities to buy electricity from “pumped storage” hydropower plants. The bill’s sponsor is NextEra Energy Resources, which is working with Eagle Crest Energy Company to develop a pumped storage project on land just outside Joshua Tree National Park, in the open desert about an hour east of Palm Springs.

Several other bills could have similarly long-term impacts on where Californians get their power, how much they pay, and the environmental consequences.

One of those bills is SB 100, which would require California to get 100 percent of its electricity from climate-friendly sources by 2045, and 60 percent specifically from renewable resources like solar, wind and geothermal by 2030. The bill was approved by the Assembly’s energy committee in a party-line vote and could now move to the Assembly floor.

Then there’s Assembly Bill 813, which would lay the groundwork for an interstate energy market that could eventually cover much of the western United States. It’s a priority for Gov. Brown, who sees a valuable opportunity for California to export its excess solar power to neighboring states, and to import low-cost, climate-friendly energy sources, such as wind power from Wyoming and hydropower from the Pacific Northwest.

More: California’s energy future is up for grabs. Here are the bills that could pass in the next 3 weeks.


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