Lithium Valley Commission: A Gatekeeper of Lithium Reserves in the Golden State

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Feb 17, 2022


Lithium Valley Commission

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In the last few years, California has been experiencing a severe drought. As a result, many are considering using lithium-ion batteries as an alternative power source as the state looks to ween itself off fossil fuels.

We Covered this in our Weekly Wire Roundup

What is the Lithium Valley Commission?

The Lithium Valley Commission (LVC) is created as part of California’s Energy Commission to explore the possibility of producing lithium batteries in California.

Although it is not yet sure if this project will get underway, it is already under discussion. The LVC will discuss the potential for a lithium battery plant in California.

The Lithium Valley Commission has been ordered to evaluate, explore, and analyze potential and advantages for lithium recovery and usage in the state, given the possibility of developing lithium from geothermal brine in the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area. 

Why was the commission created?

Lithium Valley is a global innovation hub for next-generation technology companies and start-ups focused on developing and commercializing batteries, energy storage products and services, electric vehicles, autonomous systems, and intelligent transportation systems.

The Lithium Valley Commission is created to help foster business growth. 

Members of the Commission.

Assembly Bill 1657 (Garcia), Chapter 271, 2020 (AB 1657), entitles the California Energy Commission (CEC) to convene a Blue-Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California (Lithium Valley Commission). Fourteen members are appointed by the CEC, other state agencies, the Assembly Speaker, and the Senate Rules Committee.

Members of the commission include: 

Leaders from the private sector, the government, and academia are members of this commission. 

They have established a strong foundation of relationships with investors and companies to successfully bring new technologies to market.

The 14 members of the commission are:

  1. Silvia Paz 
  2. Ryan E. Kelley
  3. Steve Castaneda
  4. Rod Colwell
  5. Roderic Dolega
  6. Miranda Flores
  7. Vacant
  8. James C. Hanks
  9. Arthur Lopez
  10. Luis Olmedo
  11. Frank Ruiz
  12. Manfred Scott
  13. Tom Soto
  14. Jonathan Weisgall

Is Riverside County The “Saudi Arabia of lithium”?

Riverside County is the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” an official said.

“California is the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” said Gavin Newsom, governor of the state. 

The amount of the Salton Sea’s lithium supply is enormous. So last year, the state formed the Lithium Valley Commission to investigate the possibilities and produce a report. The State Legislature requires a complete report from the Lithium Valley Commission by October 1, 2022.

Michael McKibben, a geochemist at UC Riverside who has studied the Salton Sea geothermal area since the 1970s, feels that the Salton Sea has the right opportunities and potential.


Lithium is used in batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric cars and even specific medical devices. The commission ensures that California is a national leader in the energy-storage market.


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