Officials in the Western Mojave Desert region of California believe language in the conference report to the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill will boost ongoing efforts by Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to improve its water and energy security. The provision, section 313, will allow the base to retain 50 percent of the revenue generated from electricity sales at the base’s Coso Geothermal Facility for its use on military construction or energy or water security projects. The provision would apply to any installation selling electricity generated from a geothermal energy plant.
China Lake’s geothermal plant generates $15 million annually, according to a joint press release from California Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R) and Paul Cook (R). Under the existing statute, installations selling electricity generated on-base must return the funds to their military department.
“This provision is extremely important to the future viability of both the naval mission at China Lake and the Ridgecrest/IWV [Indian Wells Valley] community,” said Scott O’Neil, executive director of the Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corp. “It provides the means to conduct water projects that support the IWV water basin sustainability effort and help China Lake towards its goal of energy security.”
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ernesto Hernandez Fonte