Four companies this week jointly proposed an $8-billion green energy initiative that would bring large amounts of clean electricity to the Los Angeles area by 2023. The project, primarily powered by wind energy, would be the first of its kind in the United States.
Part of 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 525-mile electric transmission line connecting the two sites.
“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, one of the four companies involved in the initiative.
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.
A key component of the project – a massive underground energy storage facility – would yield 1,200 megawatts of electricity. That’s equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant.
The size and scope of the project would be enough and enough to serve an estimated 1.2 million residences in Los Angeles.
Four companies plan to collaborate on the project – Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission. They will formally submit their proposal to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.
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 be capable of reliably delivering large amounts of electricity whenever needed, based on customer demand, without the periodic outages that often accompany wind or solar energy plants that are stand-alone.
The ambitious project was proposed in response to the agency’s request for proposals to supply the Los Angeles area with renewable energy and electricity storage.