Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission have jointly proposed a $8 billion green energy plan that would bring large amounts of renewable power to the Los Angeles, California area by 2023. The companies will formerly submit their proposal to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.
If accepted, the project would require construction of one of America’s largest wind farms in Wyoming, one of the world’s biggest energy storage facilities in Utah, and a new 525-mile electric transmission line connecting the two sites. The proposed project would generate more than twice the amount of electricity produced by the giant 1930s-era hydroelectric dam in Nevada – 9.2 million megawatt-hours per year vs. 3.9 million megawatt-hours.
“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 key component of the project is a massive underground energy storage facility that would yield 1,200 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant and enough to serve an estimated 1.2 million L.A.-area homes. According to the proposal, the underground energy storage facility would help solve one of renewable energy’s biggest challenges – its intermittency. Wind farms produce no electricity when there’s no wind; solar farms produce no electricity when there’s no sun.
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.
The energy storage facility also would reduce the need for L.A.-area utilities to build expensive backup power plants and power lines to serve customers on days when there’s no wind, at night when there’s no sunlight, and during other periods when traditional wind and solar farms are unable to produce electricity.
According to the plan, Duke-American Transmission would build a $2.6-billion, 525-mile, high-voltage electric transmission line that would transport the Wyoming wind farm’s electricity to the Utah energy storage facility. From there, using an existing 490-mile transmission line – traversing Utah, Nevada and California- electricity would be transmitted from the Utah energy storage facility to the Los Angeles area.