Energy Efficiency, Grid Scale, Storage

Utah clean energy storage project to combine hydrogen, salt dome assets

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that his state would be the site of a future 1,000-MW clean energy storage effort that combines renewable underground and above-ground technologies.

Herbert was joined by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development at the event to detail the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah. They called it the largest such energy storage project in the world.

“The unmatched investment and innovation brought forward by MHPS and Magnum Development to rural Utah again demonstrates the power of the forward-looking energy policy I have advanced throughout my administration,” Herbert said. “Utah continues to set the standard among states for driving next generation solutions to market. “I’m proud that Millard County’s skilled workforce, strategic energy infrastructure and unique geological salt domes have put Utah on the map as the epicenter of utility-scale storage for the Western United States.”

The state is hosting its Utah Governor’s Energy Summit where it unveiled the ACES project. The initiative will utilize underground salt caverns for liquid energy storage, while MHPS will offer hydrogen-fueled gas turbines aboveground.

“For 20 years, we’ve been reducing carbon emissions of the U.S. power grid using natural gas in combination with renewable power to replace retiring coal-fired power generation,” said Paul Browning, CEO of MHPS Americas. “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 percent renewable storage, is that next step. “

Magnum CEO Craig Broussard said his company’s underground assets allow for energy storage at utility scale. The other energy elements could include compressed air storage and solid oxide fuel cells.

“Central Utah is the ideal location for this project, and Utah is a business friendly state for projects like this. Magnum’s site adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project is positioned to take full advantage of existing regional electricity grid connections, fully developed transportation infrastructure, ample solar and wind development capacity, a skilled workforce currently transitioning away from coal, and, of course, the unique salt dome opportunity,” Broussard said.

The ACES project will engineer, finance, construct, own, and operate facilities to be located in Millard County. Over the coming weeks and months, additional strategic and financial partners will be invited to participate, according to the release.

No timeline was given on completion of the project.