Renewable energy permitting in Imperial County may have slowed in recent months, but the county is already planning for the next renewable energy boom as it hopes to win up to $700,000 in state funds and update its general plan.
The county has seen a fair number of renewable energy projects that impacted the county and county government, said Imperial County Deputy Executive Officer Andy Horne, noting the influx of projects revealed a need to update the alternative energy element of the county’s general plan.
This grant is made available through the California Energy Commission and is linked to counties in California that have agreed to be part of the Desert Renewable Conservation Plan.
The DRECP, a plan initiated by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to regulate renewable energy development on 22 million acres of California deserts, is intended to protect and preserve desert ecosystems while designating areas for renewable energy projects.
If funding is awarded, “We envision coming up with a plan that would allow us to tap into some of the resources over at the Salton Sea,” said county Planning Director Armando Villa.
Developers have expressed interest in developing geothermal resources, as well as biofuels and other abundant renewable energy resources near the Salton Sea. Developers and the county have noted the possibility to fund restoration or mitigation efforts related to the ailing Sea with renewable energy revenue.
But the focus of the plan would go beyond the Salton Sea and include other areas, as well as all forms of renewable energy available in the county, which is by all accounts rich in most forms of renewable energy.
Having this broad focus gives the county extra points in the grant application, according to Horne, who said there’s a “really good chance” that the county will in fact win the grant.
Here are three things that happened in Tuesday’s meeting
1 — A resolution of support for the Fort Yuma Health Center Replacement project was provided by the Board of Supervisors. With this resolution the Cocopah and the Quechan tribes are looking to secure federal funding to replace the Fort Yuma Health Center, built in 1852.
2 — A glassy-winged sharp shooter, an insect capable of spreading disease from one plant to another, was picked late last week in an orchard, Agricultural Commissioner Connie Valenzuela reported to the board. Traps have been set up, said Valenzuela who noted Imperial County is the only Southern California County not infested by this insect.
3 — An Agricultural Commissioner’s Office biologist found dead Mexican fruit fly larvae in a mango bought locally, Valenzuela also announced. The mango was brought from Mexico legally and gone through the proper sanitary procedures, which worked, she said. However, Valenzuela asked that mangoes found with larvae shouldn’t be thrown away and instead asked the public to take these mangoes to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office in a zipped plastic bag to prevent any risk of infestation.
Staff Writer Alejandro Dávila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org