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Salton Sea Geothermal Development - Nontechnical Barriers to Entry - Analysis and Perspectives

Metadata Updated: July 25, 2023

The report included in this submission details the nontechnical barriers to entry for development of geothermal resources in the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea provides an economically viable opportunity for replacing the energy imported by California which makes up 25 percent of Californias total electricity supply. However, geothermal energy in the Salton Sea has been largely undeveloped since the 1980s. This report preforms a techno-economic analysis of Geothermal Energy in the Salton Sea and develops a model to quantify the nontechnical challenges and opportunities associated with new geothermal development in the Salton Sea.

Geothermal energy offers an opportunity to generate baseload, renewable energy that can help support the transition to an energy economy with reduced impacts on climate change and replace older, more expensive, nonrenewable, and more resource-impacting energy-generation facilities. The United States has the largest known geothermal resource in the world, with over 31 GW of conventional geothermal potential. However, due to market conditions, an inability to properly quantify both electrical grid benefits and resource stability, and the difficulty of exploring and developing the geothermal resource, few new geothermal projects have come online over the past three decades. The Salton Sea, in Imperial County, California, provides a prime location and opportunity to develop new geothermal resources. The Salton Sea contains a robust, well-mapped, geothermal resource, with opportunities for concurrent development of lithium and other mineral resources. This report describes the history of geothermal development at the Salton Sea and compares geothermal to other renewable energy sources in the area. The report then uses a techno-economic analysis (TEA) model to analyze the relative benefits and costs of various challenges and opportunities and provides recommendations for streamlining geothermal development at the Salton Sea and elsewhere. The challenges and opportunities analyzed in the TEA model were informed by stakeholder interviews and literature reviews. Based upon the identified challenges and opportunities and the results of the TEA model, primary findings are that certain nontechnical barriers such as permitting costs play only a minor role in determining the viability of development of the geothermal resource at the Salton Sea. Other barriers such as permitting timelines, government/agency coordination, and the potential co-location of lithium extraction with a geothermal plant may result in much larger impacts on project viability.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: Creative Commons Attribution

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Metadata Created Date July 14, 2022
Metadata Updated Date July 25, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from OpenEI data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date July 14, 2022
Metadata Updated Date July 25, 2023
Publisher Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Data First Published 2022-06-28T06:00:00Z
Data Last Modified 2022-07-13T20:32:57Z
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 019:20
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Data Quality True
Harvest Object Id da36082a-5f1b-48c3-a439-e48d19f1b622
Harvest Source Id 7cbf9085-0290-4e9f-bec1-91653baeddfd
Harvest Source Title OpenEI data.json
Homepage URL
Old Spatial {"type":"Polygon","coordinates":-115.8,33,-115.4,33,-115.4,33.4,-115.8,33.4,-115.8,33}
Program Code 019:006
Projectlead Sean Porse
Projectnumber 37186
Projecttitle Addressing Non-Technical Barriers to Deploying Geothermal Electricity Projects in the United States
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash b9e09ff2ff91fadc1af80ea6016638b420a73ff4
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type":"Polygon","coordinates":-115.8,33,-115.4,33,-115.4,33.4,-115.8,33.4,-115.8,33}

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