An increase in research investments and growth of markets has led to a significant rise in innovation in renewable energy technologies in recent years. Over the last decade, the number of patents issued for renewable energy has gone up sharply, according to a study by MIT and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). The increase has been most dramatic in solar and wind energy technologies.
In line with the trends of a growing market opportunity and new technologies to support renewable energy, four energy companies have come together to work on an $8-billion plan to transmit electric power produced in Wyoming to Southern California through transmission lines. This will be done with the help of an innovative energy generation and storage system to be built in Utah.
The four companies that will submit a formal plan to the Southern California Public Power Authority, which is seeking proposals for renewable energy and energy storage projects, include Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand Group Inc., and Duke-American Transmission.
Under the plan, Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy would build and operate a $4-billion wind farm in Wyoming. The wind farm will generate up to 2,100 MW of power, which would be largely dedicated to California’s Los Angeles basin. Additionally, Pathfinder, Magnum Energy and Dresser-Rand would also build a $1.5-billion compressed air storage system in Utah. This facility will have a capacity of 1,200 MW and would be filled with air during periods when demand for power is low.
Duke-American Transmission will build a $2.6-billion transmission line to connect the Utah storage facility with the Wyoming wind farm. From here, the electric power would be linked with an existing transmission line that would ship electricity from Utah to California. The companies said that some parts of the project were already on the drawing board, but creating an integrated package is new. According to the partners, the price of electricity that is produced from this project would be attractive to users because the wind turbines in this project are expected to be some of the most productive in the country.