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Geothermal as the forgotten renewable? – things might change in the Salton Sea, California

Salton Sea and the SouthernValley, California (source: flickr/ Doc Searls, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 5 Feb 2018

A recent article on NPR in the U.S. looks into the geothermal potential for the Salton Sea, the development efforts of CTR and the large untapped potential of EGS development in the U.S.

A recent piece – article and radio piece – looks at “The Forgotten Renewable: Geothermal energy… ” and how it is actually heating up as a topic.

The article talks about the Hell’s Kitchen geothermal project by Controlled Thermal Resources, in the Salton Sea in California, a manmade lake area. The region has been a hotbed for geothermal development in the U.S. and is often described as having the largest geothermal resources in the country.

Jason Czapla, principal engineer for Controlled Thermal Resources, describes how the 1,000 MW development plans of his company are coinciding with California’s state target of reaching 50% renewables by 2030. The project by CTR would help significantly in these efforts to reach those targets.

In a report from 2008, Colin Williams a geothermal expert at the U.S. Geological Survey, explained the largely untapped geothermal resources throughout the Western United States. The report also taps into EGS, engineered/ enhanced geothermal systems – where one would use artificially created reservoirs to tap into geothermal energy. With that technology current capacity of around 3,400 MW could be expanded to almost 500,000 MW.

The FORGE project by the U.S. Department of Energy is actually pushing for development on this technology, with proposed test sites in Utah and Nevada.

At the Salton Sea though, CTR is looking at conventional geothermal development. While still in the permitting stages, the CEO Rod Colwell sees his company’s efforts as only the start to the greater goal of up to 1,000 MW development in the Salton Sea. With California’s phasing out of fossil fuels, geothermal actually can and will play an integral value in the energy mix of the state.

Source: NPR