Sacramento, California - At the request of the California State Assembly Select Committee on Renewable Energy Development and Restoration of the Salton Sea, Kevin E. Kelley, general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District, served as a panelist during Tuesday’s assembly committee hearing “Achieving a Low-Carbon Reliable Grid and the Role of the Salton Sea” where he spoke about pertinent renewable energy issues in the context of the declining sea.

Kelley provided testimony regarding the challenges and opportunities of renewable energy procurement in relation to the IID balancing authority, its transmission network and the region’s potential to help the state meet its reduced greenhouse gas emission goals. He also spoke about the impacts of the ag-to-urban water transfers on the Salton Sea and the role geothermal/renewable energy can play in mitigating the impacts in helping to restore the sea while alleviating a public health crisis as the lakebed is exposed.

“The development of renewable energy resources in and around the Salton Sea represents a true water/energy nexus and can serve as a springboard to a smaller yet sustainable body of water that can also advance the state’s climate change goals,” said Kelley. “I applaud Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia and the Legislature for examining the sea’s potential and shining a spotlight on an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore.” 

The third largest public power utility in California, IID has pledged its land holdings located in the largest Known Geothermal Resources Area in the nation at the sea to help restoration efforts. Due to its location in Imperial Valley – which is referred to as the “Renewable Energy Capital of the World” – the district serves as a conduit for renewable energy development across the west and continues to expand its transmission capabilities. With the potential for geothermal, biofuel and lithium production, the Salton Sea provides an opportunity to tap in-state underutilized resources for the development of the state’s green economy.

Invited to speak by State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the legislator said: “As we move in this direction, it is important that we are able to achieve not only a low-carbon grid, but one that is reliable and provides affordable clean energy. Furthermore, it is in the interest of the state, from a jobs and economic development perspective, that opportunities to develop in-state renewable energy should be prioritized.”

The Salton Sea will also be the topic of discussion on Thursday, June 25, at a public hearing being held in the state capitol by the Little Hoover Commission. The hearing will be streamed live and archived on the California Channel and will address air quality risk, restoration and California’s strategy for the Salton Sea.