Salton Sea Energy Bill by Assemblymember Manuel Pérez Advances

Sacramento, California - This week, a Salton Sea energy bill by State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez advanced through two Assembly policy committees.  AB 177 was heard and amended on Monday in the Assembly Committee on Utilities & Commerce, passing on a vote of 8-4, and today it was again amended and approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a vote of 5-1.

“AB 177 has taken a few twists and turns on its path this week, buts its focus on elevating Salton Sea renewable resources has never deviated,” said Pérez. “The Salton Sea region has a clear role to play in meeting the state’s energy needs, and by examining the main issues and barriers to developing these resources and including these findings in the state’s master planning document for energy, we are a step closer to our goal.”

Specifically, the bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC), in preparing its biennial Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), to convene a stakeholder group to advise the CEC on developing and transmitting renewable energy projects located in the Salton Sea resource area and to include these findings in the development of the IEPR.

During today’s hearing, Pérez raised the issue of Salton Sea mitigation mandated under the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) and how renewable energy may be a source of financing to help the state fulfill its commitments.

“By removing obstacles to the development of the Sea’s vast geothermal resources, the state gains access to a potential source of financing to help meet its mitigation obligations under the QSA, while supporting job creation and local economic development, reducing air pollution locally and helping our state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Pérez.

The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) testified in support of the bill at both hearings.

"This bill advances not only the cause of a sustainable sea but supports the systematic development of the renewable energy resources to help pay for it.  IID appreciates Assemblyman Perez' leadership on this critical issue,” said Kevin Kelley, IID General Manager.

Earlier this month, the Imperial Irrigation District commissioned a study reporting nearly $4 billion dollars in potential revenue from the full build out of renewables in the Salton Sea Renewable Resource Area.

The bill heads now to the Assembly Committee Appropriations.

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