Rod Colwell, CEO and founding director of Controlled Thermal Resources, discusses geothermal energy within the Salton Sea area of California, why geothermal energy is a good investment for investors and the future of the geothermal energy market.
For all the excitement and hype over the advent of wind and solar as sources of alternative energy, one would think that others would be invited to the party, too. And while some have been — hydro and nuclear power, in particular — one source has yet to really cut loose.
Three and a half hours east of Los Angeles lies the Salton Sea, a manmade oasis in the heart of the Mojave Desert. It was created in 1905, when a canal broke and the Colorado River flooded the desert for more than a year. The Sea became a tourist hotspot in the 1950's, perfect for swimming, boating, and kayaking. But now, people are coming here looking for something else.
Jim Turner is the chief operating officer of Controlled Thermal Resources, an energy company from Australia. On a hill overlooking the Salton Sea, he points out a patch of land that will someday house his company's first power plant, named Hell's Kitchen.
"We're standing on top of what is probably the most robust geothermal resource in the United States," he explains.
Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) has won the Project of the Year Award for Sustainability for its Hell’s Kitchen geothermal project in the Salton Sea at the 9th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum, in San Francisco on October 29, 2017, CTR announced Monday.
CTR is one of a team of geothermal project developers who aim to construct and operate the largest geothermal power plant in the Imperial Valley. Another team is planning the engineering, construction, and operation of a companion plant that will use a proprietary carbon-dioxide-negative technology to recover minerals such as lithium from the geothermal plant’s brine before it is re-injected into the reservoir. Operating together, the plants will compose a CO2-negative, renewable-energy power producer.
We are very pleased to announce that the Hell’s Kitchen Geothermal Power Station won the Project of the Year Award for Sustainability at the 9th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum, in San Francisco this week.
Great news for the Salton Sea, Imperial Valley and Geothermal development.
After years of false starts and disappointments, the Salton Sea lithium story may get a happy ending after all.
The next few months will be crucial.
To recap: In 2014, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors offered $325 million to buy Simbol Materials, a clean-tech startup that had developed technology to extract lithium — a key ingredient in electric car batteries — from the geothermal brine by the southern shore of the Salton Sea, in California's Imperial Valley. But the deal fell apart, with many observers blaming mismanagement at Simbol.
Scientists and local geothermal officials agree that the Salton Sea is one of the world’s most active regions for geothermal development with the potential of becoming a leader and home to some of the nation’s largest geothermal power plants and mining operations.
Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR), an Australian-based geothermal development corporation, is currently developing a utility scale renewable energy project at the Salton Sea and has plans to lead the way for Imperial County to become home to the world’s largest geothermal plant.
Australian backed firm Controlled Thermal Resources is planning the largest geothermal development in California at the Salton Sea, with development plans of 280 MW in the first stage and plans of up to 750 MW.
All of California’s electricity will come from clean power sources by 2045 under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, the latest in a series of ambitious goals set by the state to combat the effects of climate change.
Senate Bill 100 by state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) requires the state to obtain all of its electricity from clean sources — such as solar, wind and hydropower — by 2045. The bill also requires electric utilities and other service providers to generate 60% of their power from renewable sources by 2030, up from the 50% goal previously set for that date.
California would set some of the nation’s strongest clean energy goals under legislation that cleared a key vote in the Assembly on Tuesday, bringing the state a step closer to ending its reliance on fossil fuels by phasing out their use to generate electricity.
The bill, which would require California to obtain 100% of its power from clean sources by 2045, has been debated by lawmakers for nearly two years as it faced cost and feasibility concerns. This week, high-profile state and national politicians gave the cause a push by arguing the plan would strengthen California’s leadership on the environment.
In the midst of fevered policy discussions surrounding the fate of California’s clean energy future, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia successfully advanced AB 893, his proposal supporting geothermal, out of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The geothermal procurement mandated in this measure is of immense significance to the Riverside and Imperial County communities in Garcia’s district.
Geothermal energy creates high-paying jobs, not just during construction, pays property taxes and wields potential to provide additional revenue streams to some of the most impoverished areas of the state. Geothermal power plants employ six times more people than solar and 18 more times than wind while producing six times more to the local economy than both. In Imperial County, this industry serves as the largest taxpayer.
The fate of vehicle efficiency standards will have significant impacts on the electric power sector, particularly in California — the largest U.S. market for electric vehicles (EVs).
Studies suggest that meeting Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious EV targets could add more than 1 GW of power demand to the California grid, but the EPA’s proposed action would also revoke the state’s authority to set those targets.
Report recommends investing in more non-solar renewable energy sources to spread clean generation throughout all hours of the day.
California can retire at least 28 of its natural gas plants because they are no longer needed to meet the state’s electricity needs nor its carbon emissions reduction goals, according to an analysis released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
California should adopt several strategies to reduce its dependence on gas generation, especially in evening hours including investing in more non-solar renewable energy sources to spread clean generation throughout all hours of the day.
In the halls of the capitol, lawmakers and lobbyists are debating bills that would bolster renewable energy sources like solar and wind, create an interstate electricity market covering much of the western U.S., make it easier for utilities to charge their customers for wildfire damages, and promote the construction of geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.
Two bills are of particular interest to the desert. One of them AB 893 from Assemblymember 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.
Fluctuating solar and wind power require lots of energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries seem like the obvious choice—but they are far too expensive to play a major role.
Not only is lithium-ion technology too expensive for this role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks, and even months when wind and solar generation flags.
This problem is particularly acute in California, where both wind and solar fall off precipitously during the fall and winter months.
In 2017, Rechargeable Batteries Accounted For Over 43% Of Total Lithium Demand. The Increasing Use Of Li-Ion Batteries In Automotive Applications, Both For Hybrid And Fully-Electric Vehicles, Has Seen
Global demand for lithium, mainly driven by the lithium-ion battery industry, is set to grow exponentially will continue to be the main catalyst for its growth. The lithium ion battery industry, which accounted for around 50 percent of consumption in 2017, is expected to reach over 80 percent by 2027, says Roskill, a London-based consultancy agency.
The report states that growth in the consumption of lithium accelerated in 2017, by over 10 percent on 2016 levels, to reach 211,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Automotive applications were the largest market for Li-ion batteries in 2017, with Chinese sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) increasing by around 20 percent year on year. This placed a strain on the battery supply chain which is likely to continue; Roskill estimates Chinese PEV sales could reach around one million units in 2021.
There is nothing more important for future electrical power in the United States than whether, in the wake of an enormous loss of baseload power due to overregulation in recent years, our country preserves financially stressed nuclear and coal plants for essential baseload power.
Although the Trump administration has taken steps to address the overzealous rules that have affected nuclear and coal plants and forced more than 120,000 megawatts from these entities into retirement since 2010, it’s clear the problem persists, and more must be done. Currently, 17,000 MW of coal-fired power are expected to be lost this year, and several large nuclear plants could close.