$8 Billion Wind Power/Cavern Battery Project Proposed

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A US $8-billion green energy initiative would see wind power generated electricity in Wyoming consumed in Los Angeles and also involve ‘cavern battery’ energy storage.

The project involves the construction of one of the nation’s largest wind farms in Wyoming, one of the world’s biggest energy storage facilities in Utah, and an 850 kilometre electric transmission line connecting the two sites.

Four companies are involved with the proposal – Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission

“This project would be the 21st century’s Hoover Dam – a landmark of the clean energy revolution,” said Jeff Meyer, managing partner of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy.

A 2,100 megawatt wind farm would be situated near Chugwater, Wyoming; taking advantage of the region’s significant wind resources.

The $1.5-billion compressed air energy storage system at a site near Delta, Utah, 130 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, will consist of four vertical caverns carved from an underground salt formation at the site

Each cavern would be 1,160,990 cubic metres in volume and combined could store the energy equivalent of 60,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.

Surplus electricity from the wind farm will be used to compress and inject high-pressure air into the caverns for storage. The high-pressure compressed air, combined with a small amount of natural gas, would power eight generators to produce electricity. The concept is sometimes referred to as a ‘cavern battery‘.

“Linking the wind farm to the energy storage facility would enable the wind farm to function largely like a traditional coal, nuclear or natural gas power plant – capable of reliably delivering large amounts of electricity whenever needed, based on customer demand,” says Duke Energy.

The company states the proposed project has the potential to generate more than twice the amount of electricity produced by the Hoover hydroelectric dam in Nevada – 9.2 million megawatt-hours per year vs. 3.9 million megawatt-hours; enough to serve an estimated 1.2 million L.A.-area homes.

The four companies will formally submit their proposal to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.

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