Magnum Energy is proposing to export electricity generated by wind farms in Wyoming to Utah, where the energy would be stored as compressed air in caverns in underground salt deposits. It would then be used to transmit energy as required to Los Angeles.
The electricity would originate at a 2,100-megawatt wind farm near Chugwater, about 225 kilometres north of Denver. High-voltage lines would send the electricity to a site 16 kilometres north of Delta in central Utah. Here, four chambers, each almost the size of the Empire State Building, would be carved from an underground salt deposit to hold huge volumes of compressed air.
Air would be pumped into the caverns when wind is blowing in Wyoming and power demand is low. When there is increased power demand in California, the compressed air would be released to drive turbines and feed power to Southern California. Each of the caverns would be capable of holding enough air to generate 60,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.
It is estimated that the project, which would generate twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam, would cost $1.5 billion.