Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC) hosted a Lithium Valley Stakeholder Meeting convening local government, education institutions, businesses, and residents to discuss the news of a supply chain partnership between Controlled Thermal Resources and Statevolt, who recently unveiled plans for a $4B Gigafactory to be located in Imperial County’s “Lithium Valley” just outside Calipatria.
“Statevolt’s announcement of a lithium battery manufacturing plant in the Imperial Valley yesterday is exciting news on many fronts. It represents the culmination of opportunities encountering the perfect time for these forces to come together,”said IVEDC Chair Doug Dahm.
The meeting, which took place at Imperial Valley College, included presentations from IVEDC CEO Timothy Kelley, Imperial County District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley, Imperial Valley College Dean of Workforce and Economic Development Efrain Silva, Controlled Thermal Resources CEO Rod Colwell and Statevolt Founder Lars Carlstrom.
There were key takeaways from yesterday’s presentations. Most notably, Statevolt Founder Lars Carlstrom shared details of plans to develop one of the largest gigafactories in the United States, with roughly 2,500 directly employed personnel in a 3.2M sqft facility. Imperial Valley’s strategic location is the leading force in geothermal and lithium extraction industries, which has opened the door for this groundbreaking economic opportunity for local job seekers, businesses, cities and residents.
IVEDC Board member Tom DuBose said, “IVEDC’s persistence is paying off. As we have consistently marketed Imperial Valley on a global scale and continue to strengthen our bond with the Governor’s Office, Sacramento has come to learn that Imperial Valley is the number one location in California for opportunities like this.”
IVEDC Chair Doug Dahm said, “It goes without saying that the introduction of this project is the tip of the iceberg, and we anticipate the synergy created from this project to be just the beginning of more significant projects like this to come in the near future. The fact that CTR and Statevolt are planning to co-locate at the extraction site creates a synergy that has so many positive possibilities.” Dahm believes the theory of the Triple Bottom Line, 1) Economy, 2) Environment and 3) Equity, best describes how this project will benefit the entire Imperial Valley.
First, the Economy of the Imperial Valley is enhanced by the constructive utilization of resources that are found in abundance in the Salton Sea area.
Second, the technology being used to develop this project is Environmentally safe, and it doesn’t further enlarge the Carbon Footprint here in Imperial Valley. Sean Wilcock, VP of Business Development at IVEDC stated, “The world’s demand on lithium is historic and will continue to grow exponentially. What we find exciting about this project, from a global perspective, is the enormous difference in how lithium is secured today in open pit mines and evaporation ponds compared to how Lithium will be extracted from geothermal brine at the Salton Sea in a closed loop manner with de minimis impact to the environment. Today, lithium circles the globe many times before becoming a battery. The Statevolt facility combined with onsite lithium and energy supplied by Controlled Thermal Resources will result in an enormous reduction in CO² emissions for every battery cell produced.”
Third and most importantly, the Equity generated by this project will remain here in the Imperial Valley, instead of being shipped out to other areas of the nation or the world, thus by-passing the Imperial Valley.
With nearly 100 interested businesses and residents in attendance, the Lithium Valley Stakeholder Meeting was designed to bring stakeholders from the public and private sectors together to strengthen discussions of strategic planning and ensure preparedness for this exciting opportunity. Dahm stated, “I think it is also noteworthy to mention here that IVEDC has developed many working partnerships over the years that will enhance and create value to this project. One of the partnerships is with IVC, our local community college. IVC is currently working to develop a curriculum for educational certificates that will enable students to apply for and secure high skill and high-paying jobs. IVEDC also enjoys a partnership with the County of Imperial, the Planning Department and its Board of Supervisors. The supervisors are supportive of this project and are working diligently to streamline the permitting process to enable this project to come to fruition by 2025.”
Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC) is a partnership of private enterprise and local government that is united by the common vision of expanding and diversifying our economy. IVEDC is committed to enhance the quality of life experienced in Imperial Valley by engaging in initiatives that contribute to the diversification of the regional economy.
IVEDC provides complimentary information, facilitation and referral services. IVEDC’s Business Development process includes site selection, incentive packaging, land acquisition, permitting assistance, procurement and workforce development.