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CTR Breaks Ground on Hell’s Kitchen Lithium Project

-Editorial

Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for their ambitious project, Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power, which marks the beginning of lithium development in Imperial County. Situated within the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, one of the world’s largest known geothermal resources, this project holds immense potential for clean energy solutions and economic growth.

CTR’s goal is to empower the local community by creating over 4,000 jobs, with a focus on employing over 95% of the workforce from Imperial County itself. This investment in job creation and economic initiatives will foster long-term growth and shared success for the region.

Established in 2013, CTR is a US-based company specializing in lithium and battery material products as well as renewable energy. With headquarters in Imperial County, California, and additional offices in Brisbane, Australia, and Houston, Texas, CTR is well-positioned to lead the development of renewable energy projects.

The leadership team at CTR boasts over 20 years of experience in the Salton Sea region, successfully managing renewable energy projects. This expertise has played a crucial role in advancing CTR’s projects and ensuring their alignment with California’s clean energy initiatives.

While the groundbreaking ceremony was a cause for celebration, it did not go without opposition. Comité Cívico Del Valley expressed their concerns about the project in a press release. However, despite these concerns, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Hell’s Kitchen project and dismissed the appeal from Comité Cívico Del Valley regarding environmental impact.

In response to the Board’s decision, Luis Olmedo, executive director of Comité Cívico Del Valley, expressed their commitment to ensuring that the Imperial Valley remains a safe and healthy community throughout the clean energy transition. They have appealed the Board’s decision and are prepared to fight for their community’s well-being.

“In the wake of the Board’s disappointing and potentially dangerous actions, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the Imperial Valley, our home, will not be a sacrifice zone for the clean energy transition,” said Luis Olmedo, executive director of CCV, “While we support union jobs and sustainable local economic development, we have appealed the Board’s decision and will fight for our community up to the highest court of the land if we must. We will continue to demand that all lithium development in our community, including CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project, offer the highest standards for health and safety.”

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors has stated goals for economic development in an effort to increase economic opportunity for its residents. Imperial County desires to increase the overall wealth of its residents through private economic investment into the Imperial Valley Region in the form of lithium and rare mineral extraction, processing and manufacturing/packaging for end-user applications and renewable energy generation/storage in the form of geothermal, solar, wind and energy storage. 

On June 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 125 authorizing the state to assist in developing Imperial County’s lithium resource in an area that is a part of the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area, known as Lithium Valley.  Among other provisions, SB 125 appropriated funding to develop a Lithium Valley Specific Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) and to distribute grants to local community-based organizations to conduct engagement related to the Specific Plan and PEIR. The Lithium Valley Specific Plan and PEIR is intended to map out and expedite the development and permitting of additional power plants, mineral recovery, lithium battery manufacturing, and other renewable industries within an approximately 51,786-acre area adjacent to the Salton Sea. A major goal is to encourage renewable energy industry investment that provides quality local jobs while minimizing adverse effects on the environment and public health. 

This project will be a pivotal step for Imperial Valley and the nation toward a more sustainable and localized economy.

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