Four US energy firms have planned an $8 billion wind storage project that includes a 1.2GW compressed air storage system.
The companies, Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission, plan to construct a 2.1GW wind farm in Wyoming to bring power to Los Angeles in California. High voltage lines would send the electricity to a salt-cavern compressed air site in Utah and then be released at times of peak demand in the Los Angeles area.
The four caverns in Utah are each almost 400 metres high. The air would be pumped into the caverns, capable of holding enough air to generate 60,000MWh of electricity from a 1.2GW system through turbines at the surface.
“Battery storage is very expensive, very inefficient. The second you put a charge into a battery it starts to discharge. You lose a lot of power,” said Loyd Drain, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. “But energy storage, like compressed air storage, you can store that and not lose any energy,” said Chris Jones, managing director of business development for Duke-American Transmission.
The consortium intends to submit a formal plan by early 2015 to the Southern California Public Power Authority that is seeking proposals for renewable energy and energy storage projects.