Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz met with Department of Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm earlier this week to chart a path forward to develop the lithium deposits underneath the Salton Sea and help create clean energy jobs for the community.
The DOE is working to support American researchers who are developing the technologies to extract lithium from the geothermal brine. This is currently used for power production near the Salton Sea.
In January, the DOE announced it would be awarding more than $50 million in funding for 15 projects focused on field validation and demonstration, as well as next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies, for critical materials, such as rare-earth elements. These critical materials are used to manufacture high-strength magnets for offshore wind-turbine generators and lithium and cobalt in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
These materials are also used for power production near the Salton sea.
In addition, President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan has a focus on investing in clean energy research and manufacturing. With significant investment is expected for local lithium resources, Ruiz stressed the importance of returning economic benefits to the local community.
“The lithium development at the Salton Sea presents an incredible opportunity for our region to not only become a global leader in producing lithium itself but to become the manufacturing center of the batteries that will power our clean-energy future,” Ruiz said. “I’m looking forward to this partnership with Secretary Granholm to boost our economic development, create clean energy jobs, and bring federal dollars to the Salton Sea through President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.”
Major national investments in the region would contribute to infrastructure improvements, job growth in the clean-energy sector, and contributions toward public health priorities such as the receding Salton Sea.