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Dying Salton Sea Able to Generate Renewable Energy for 6.5 Million Households

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The Salton Sea is dying out and this is no new phenomenon: for decades now, the sea is slowly but surely losing its salt levels, affecting the fauna in and around it. That makes the Salton Sea Authority face a pressing issue: that of finding ways to save it. So its members have been thinking about tapping into its clean energy resources to come up with the money.

The idea is actually to find partners in the private sector willing to invest in the possibilities the sea has to offer. They really are newsworthy: 6.5 million households could benefit from solar and geothermal power plants present in the area, which would make up for $5.3 billion each year, according to a study conducted by the consulting firm InfraConsult.

For example, geothermal energy alone would have a $1.4 billion-a-year profit, after investing between $4.7 and $8.1 billion. So it means the respective company could have its investment returned in a few years.

In what solar energy is concerned, this one is more expensive: it would need somewhere around $5.6 to $16.5 billion to produce a revenue of $3.9 billion. Again, it wouldn’t take more than 5 years to see profits happen at a steady rate. Other options included biodiesel and desalination projects, but they lack the viability of the first two.

Previous attempts to restore the ecosystem subsequently failed, like the $8.9 billion fund approved in 2009 but taken over by more important economical and environmental issues. One way or another, the Salton Sea Authority has to find a solution, because the sea levels are drastically decreasing.

By 2018, the sea will have severely dried up and if it were to become completely dry, then the resulting dust would cover up the land for miles around it. Thus, the people living in the Coachella and Imperial valleys would have their agriculture, health and tourism seriously affected.

So the first step in this new effort is the request for information, which resembles a survey among potential private investors; their feedback would come in handy for how to surpass legal and jurisdictional details. We at least think i’s a good bargain, because investors would make a profit and save the Salton Sea ecosystem at the same time!

[via MyDesert]

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