New Legislation Spurs Geothermal Energy in the Golden State

Close on the heels of California’s Governor signing SB1, comes SB 1294, which was signed into law last week to unlock geothermal energy development from constraints. According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the bill will have the immediate effect of allowing for the continued operation and new expansion of the geothermal resources in the Imperial County area.

SB 1294, authored by Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), provides clarity on state regulation of the industry by resolving duplication of governmental regulation and confusion over responsibility for various environmental issues that have stalled new projects in the state. It passed unanimously from both houses of California’s legislature. “There is a vast reservoir of untapped geothermal energy yet to be developed, and Senator Ducheny’s bill is a key to unlocking investment in those resources,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the GEA. “The industry greatly appreciates the Senator’s leadership to champion this renewable resource, which is one of Imperial County’s greatest assets.” Geothermal resources account for 5 percent of the state’s electricity generation, but only a fraction of its potential has been tapped to date. Recent surveys of new development activity found 11 new power projects underway that would increase geothermal capacity in the state by more than 30%. “Not only will this [bill] help protect the environment and increase domestic energy production, but it will provide much needed jobs for my Imperial County constituents,” said Ducheny, who represents parts of San Diego and Riverside Counties and all of Imperial County. “This is exactly where our State should be heading and I’m pleased to be able to help push us along.”
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