Duke Energy to partner on massive wind project

Duke Energy would be part of an $8 billion proposal, announced Tuesday, to send wind energy generated in Wyoming to Los Angeles.

Duke-American Transmission Co., owned by Duke and American Transmission Co., would be among four companies partnering on the project. It’s intended to solve the off-on nature of wind power by storing energy for future use.

The companies compared the project to the massive, 1930s-era Hoover Dam in Arizona and Nevada. It would generate 9.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year, they said, more than twice that of the dam.

Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy would build and own a $4 billion wind farm near Cheyenne, Wyo., with a generating capacity of 2,100 megawatts. It would be among the nation’s biggest wind farms.

Duke-American Transmission would build a $2.6 billion, 525-mile transmission line that would send the wind energy to an energy storage facility in Utah.

Electricity from the wind farm would compress air and inject it at high pressure into four underground caverns in Utah. The $1.5 billion storage project would carve caverns into salt formations 130 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

The compressed air, combined with some natural gas, would power eight generators to make electricity as needed. Pathfinder, Magnum Energy and Dresser-Rand would install the storage system.

An existing 490-mile transmission line through Utah, Nevada and California would send the electricity on to Los Angeles.

The storage facility would yield 1,200 megawatts of electricity, about as much as a nuclear reactor, and be able to serve about 1.2 million homes in the Los Angeles area, the companies said.

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