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Lithium, geothermal project set to break ground

After close to a decade of planning, Controlled Thermal Resources is expected to break ground on its multi-million lithium extraction and geothermal plants here today.

The company plans to break ground on the so-called world’s “first fully integrated lithium and renewable power production facility.”

According to a company statement, this is the first of seven stages of its multi-billion-dollar clean energy precinct – the Lithium Valley Campus.

“We are very excited to share the news that CTR will break ground on the world’s first fully integrated lithium and geothermal development!,” CTR CEO Rod Colwell said in a prepared statement issued in an email. “CTR will be joined by community leaders and notable dignitaries … to mark this pivotal moment in the nation’s drive toward clean energy independence.”

Those dignitaries include President Joe Biden’s Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta and former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, as well as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Jeff Marootian.

Podesta previously served as White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama. Also, he chairs the Washington-based think tank Center for American Progress. In the US administration, Podesta oversees the disbursement of hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The company also invited Batteries, Fuel Cells, & Commodities General Motors Executive Director Sham Kunjur, EXIM Bank President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Rita Lewis, Imperial County District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley, Imperial Irrigation District Board President Alex Cardenas, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, and Congressman Raul Ruiz, among others.

CTR said the world’s largest and most sustainable lithium and power production campus will help extract critical minerals and rare earths for recovery and processing in a single U.S. location.

Battery materials production, manufacturing, and recycling facilities could be co-located on-site and powered by firm, clean renewable energy.

The plant will help the U.S. achieve goals like reducing domestic battery supply chain risk, increasing national clean energy security, stabilizing electric vehicle battery-pack costs, supporting massive carbon emission reductions, creating thousands of jobs, attracting new industry, innovation, and capital investment, and secure domestic lithium for up to five million electric vehicles per year.

Once completely built, the campus will include power production facilities, lithium extraction mines, and battery hubs.

The so-called Hell’s Kitchen project has a potential investment of around $28 billion and job opportunities for up to 7,940 employees.

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