Bill to increase Geothermal Use Advances out of its First Senate Policy Committee

Imperial Valley geothermal in California
Imperial Valley geothermal in California


(Sacramento, CA) – The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee approved SB 1139 today, authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) together with principal co-author Assemblymember Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella).  The bill requires energy retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities to procure 500 megawatts of electricity from baseload geothermal power plants by 2024.

“This bill is directionally important. The clean electric system of the future has to have more baseload generation. We have abundant geothermal resources in this state that are underutilized,” said Senator Hueso. “California utilities are dramatically increasing their renewable energy portfolios with wind and solar resources, but not effectively increasing the utilization of geothermal power. The long term electric supply portfolio serving Californians should include much greater reliance on geothermal resources to achieve a balanced Renewable Portfolio Standard as we move toward a carbon-free generation supply.”

“Geothermal, with its ability to provide base load power with negligible greenhouse gas emissions, has the potential to anchor southern California’s energy needs, while keeping us on track to achieve our state’s emissions reductions goals,” said Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez.  “Either we are serious about these goals or we aren’t.  At the same time, the development of these resources could produce thousands of jobs for our Coachella and Imperial Valley communities while also serving as a source of financing for Salton Sea restoration.”

SB 1139 was approved on a vote of 6-2 and now heads to Senate Appropriations Committee.