Imperial Valley (United States)
Generation, Geothermal
About Geothermal Energy
Geothermal power plants use superheated fluids from the Earth's geothermal resources to generate electricity. Production wells tap into reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth's surface, releasing tremendous pressure that brings the superheated fluids to the Earth's surface. The superheated fluids are turned into steam that is used to drive a turbine and generate electricity; all remaining geothermal fluids are injected back into the reservoirs for reuse.

Geothermal fluids are a mixture of hot water and a saline solution of dissolved metals, such as iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, boron, barium, silica and lithium. These metals can be removed from the geothermal fluids – or brine – before they are injected back into the reservoirs for reuse. BHE Renewables is advancing research to recover lithium from the brine for potential use in the production of lithium-ion batteries. To learn more about the research, view our fact sheet.

About the Project
The Imperial Valley project consists of 10 geothermal power plants in the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area in Southern California's Imperial Valley. Five of the Imperial Valley facilities – Vulcan, Salton Sea 1, Elmore, Hoch and Salton Sea 3 – deliver output to a consortium of customers (the city of Riverside, Salt River Project, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Imperial Irrigation District) under long-term portfolio arrangements that enable these customers to spread delivery risk over multiple plants. The remaining five plants deliver output to Southern California Edison (Leathers, Salton Sea 2 and Salton Sea 4), the city of Riverside (Salton Sea 5) and Arizona Public Service (CE Turbo). The combined capacity at Imperial Valley is approximately 345 net megawatts.

The existing Imperial Valley power generation facilities are owned by CE Generation, LLC and are operated by CalEnergy Operating Corporation, an indirect subsidiary of CE Generation.

Fuel Source:
Calipatria, California, U.S.
Date of Commercial Operation:
CE Turbo:
Del Ranch:
Salton Sea 1:
Salton Sea 2:
Salton Sea 3:
Salton Sea 4:
Salton Sea 5:
Approximately 345 net megawatts
Electricity Purchaser:
Southern California Edison Company, city of Riverside, Salt River Project, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Imperial Irrigation District and Arizona Public Service
Interconnection and Firm
Transmission Agreement:
Transmission lines, owned and operated by Imperial Irrigation District are used to interconnect each of the operating power plants and deliver output on a firm basis to customers at multiple delivery points