'World's Biggest' Energy Storage Project Planned For Utah

Mitsubishi is leading an ambitious project to develop what it claims will be the world’s largest energy storage project.

The venture will take advantage of salt caverns owned by Magnum Development.

While lithium-based technology dominates the utility-scale battery market, the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project will look to develop four competing technologies with no lithium in sight. It will have the equivalent power rating of 1GW. The energy storage capacity figure, in GWh, has not been provided. A 100MW system has been installed in the UAE with similar sized projects in Australia and China also.

The hydrogen storage element of the scheme is part of a broader strategy by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS). The company has developed a gas turbine for power plants that can operate efficiently with a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen. It has sketched out a technology roadmap that will eventually see a gas turbine using exclusively hydrogen. If the electrolysis used to create the hydrogen is powered by renewables, then that hydrogen can be considered a renewable energy source.

“In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generation, we need the next step in decarbonization. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100% renewable storage, is that next step,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO of MHPS Americas. “When we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

The site is adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project which Magnum says will give it access to a host f regional electricity connections. At the planned scale, the storage site will be able to serve 150,000 U.S. households with no seasonal variation.

Smart Grid Bulletin October 2019

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