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City to Test the Geothermal Waters Near Salton Sea*

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On Friday, the City Council adopted a resolution authorizing a very complicated-sounding lease that will let the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) look into the possibility of developing a geothermal energy facility near the Salton Sea. UPDATE*: In fact, the City Council didn't sign the lease, but agreed to proceed with the lease agreement upon hearing more information—in this case, the finalization of the SCPPA Memorandum of Understanding relative to the Geothermal Feasibility and Exploration project. The lease would be between the DWP and the Southern California Public Power Authority, a joint powers authority of 11 LA-area cities and the Imperial Irrigation District. The agreement would involve 2,950 acres owned by DWP and 2,280 acres owned by the Imperial Irrigation District. The Council followed the Energy and Environment Committee's recommendation on the motion. In an earlier report, the Energy and Environment Committee had raised concerns about money--their report says "potential cost of a geothermal facility averages $250 million, without including transmission or debt costs, of which DWP might pay 50 percent or $125 million." The report that DWP has admitted to transmission issues in the area that "could limit the accessibility to that electricity for DWP customers." So...we might be paying a lot to tap all that sweet heat out of the earth without even getting a piece?
· Report from Board of Water and Power Commissioners [LACity.org]