Earlier this week, a four company alliance proposed an $8 billion dollar project that could deliver wind-generated energy from the plains of Wyoming to homes in Southern California. The project would entail building one of the largest wind farms in the country, storing the generated power in caverns in Utah, and a 525 mile transmission system to connect it all together. In the end, the project would create energy levels equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant.
According to Travis Miller, an industry analyst for Morningstar, Inc., “This would certainly be one of the most ambitious and expensive energy infrastructure projects we have seen. Energy storage, paired with renewable energy, has been the holy grail of utilities and energy companies.”
The plan, according to Jeff Meyer of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, would be the “21st century’s Hoover dam”, although the new proposal would potentially generate twice as much energy as the 1930s-era dam.
Pathfinder Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission Co. said in a statement they plan to submit the blueprint to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015. The plan “would be competing with 200 other proposals,” said Steven Homer Director of project management for the authority (and whose members deliver electricity to approximately 2 million customers).
“Any infrastructure project that looks out nine, ten years, has a lot of uncertainties,” the analyst, Travis Miller said, considering the fact that there are always potential shifts in government policy, environmental regulation and the economics of producing green power.
The proposed project has a completion date of 2023, and would be a landmark development in the generation of green energy.