Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Massive green-energy project taps salt caverns near Delta

A massive $8 billion project that would produce more than double the amount of energy generated by Hoover Dam taps some of the most unique and deep salt caverns found in the world — just outside of Delta in Millard County. The salt domes for compressed air energy storage are the biggest structures of their kind west of the Mississippi and figure as central components of a four-company green-energy project.

Construction of one of the nation's largest wind farms is planned for 40 miles outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, to ultimately deliver enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes in Southern California. A 525-mile direct-current transmission line would take 2,100 megawatts of electricity produced at the wind farm for storage in the salt caverns in Millard County built by Salt Lake City-based Magnum Energy.

The energy would be converted to compressed air and stored in four caverns a quarter-mile deep during periods of low demand. At peak, the facility would use the stored, high-pressure compressed air, combined with a small amount of natural gas, to power eight generators to produce electricity.

The caverns have already gone through federal, state and local regulatory hurdles for the appropriate permits and await the permitting process to play out for the transmission line, which is expected to take about four years. Deseret News