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Wyoming-to-L.A. ‘Stored’ Windpower? Think Twice the Cost

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#w_lusvardi">Wayne Lusvardi</a> -- October 8, 2014

“This proposal delivers its ‘green’ energy at roughly twice the cost of a LA-basin gas-generated power, estimates energy expert Tom Tanton, since transmission losses from Wyoming to LA would be between 10 and 11 percent. This is surely a project that should be taken with a grain, or a chunk, of salt.”

California, trying to desalinize their drinking and irrigation water, is floating the idea of buying and storing renewable energy in a salt mine near Salt Lake City as part of a plan to get ‘green’ electrons to Los Angeles. This technology-over-economics, cost-be-damned project would use  an existing Utah-to-California transmission line previously dedicated to coal-by-wire from the Intermountain Coal Power Plant.

This scheme, a joint venture by Pathfinder Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission, is based on the purported success of a preexisting energy storage project in Alabama that uses compressed air stored in natural caverns to power electricity producing generators.…