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World’s largest renewable energy storage project announced in Utah; grid-scale energy storage with renewable hydrogen production

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development announced an initiative to launch the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah. The world’s largest project of its kind, the ACES initiative will develop 1,000 MW of 100% clean energy storage, thereby deploying technologies and strategies essential to a decarbonized future for the power grid of the Western United States.

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, carbon emissions from the US power sector have dropped 30% since 2005 because of a combination of natural gas and renewable power replacing retiring coal-fired power plants. MHPS has been instrumental in this transition and last year became the global market share leader for heavy duty gas turbines.

As a next step in decarbonization, MHPS has developed gas turbine technology that enables a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas to produce power with even lower carbon emissions. The MHPS technology roadmap aims to use 100% renewable hydrogen as a fuel source, which will allow gas turbines to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.

Magnum Development owns and controls the only known “Gulf Coast” style domal-quality salt formation in the western United States. With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage and renewable hydrogen storage options. Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate seamlessly with the western US power grid utilizing existing infrastructure.

In many parts of the western United States, there are times of day when demand for electricity is lower than the production of renewable power. This leads to curtailment of renewable generation and negative electricity pricing. Continued deployment of renewables will require that excess power be stored for later use. To serve the needs of the entire western United States, many gigawatt-hours of storage capacity are required.

Initially developing enough energy storage to completely serve the needs of 150,000 households for an entire year, the ACES initiative will deploy four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. These energy storage technologies include:

  • Renewable hydrogen
  • Compressed Air Energy Storage
  • Large scale flow batteries
  • Solid oxide fuel cells

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



I don't understand that.
1000MWH sure, but MW?

For how long?

I have checked back o the source, and it is not a boo boo by Mike, they say 1000MW too.


Presumably the capacity of the flow batteries can be scaled up as desired.  Assuming there is more room in the formation, the capacity of the CAES and hydrogen systems can also be scaled up by solution-mining more of the evaporite.  None of these require any change in the power-handling capacity of the conversion hardware, so a rating in MW seems apropos.

That said, I suspect that there are more efficient ways to use excess wind and PV power until generation increases to something on the order of 1.5-2 times immediate demand.  Unfortunately, confirming my suspicion requires data that I cannot find in the relevant product literature.


Big advantage of storing both compressed air & hydrogen is you can run the compressor on cheap off peak power and store the compressed air for peak times.
In a classic gas turbine the power hungry compressor takes a big chunk of the gross turbine power.
So if you run the turbine only, with compressed air from storage, net output during peak times might be doubled or even trebled compared to a classic GT of same size.
Does wonders for the economics.
Similar improvements for the round trip efficiency, and finally, it reduces the relative cost of the electrolysers.
Main problem is not many of these salt domes conveniently located.
Some in Europe however.
The Huntorf CAES uses salt domes. Works on this principle.
Was bult to smooth output from a German helium cooled reactor.
When nukes were the next big thing.


EP It's interesting to hear of renewables reaching oversupply in 'several states of the U.S. on occasion. These reports are not uncommon in various countries so we can assume others are not far off. That suggests it is timely to look at such as nameplate requirements and 'off peak' uses.
1.5 to 2 times demand cannot begin to describe the complexities of oversupply.
As soon as spare electrons have a destination, they meet demand exactly.
Knowing that new uses will be found when the current needs are met especially those technologies that can work well and match variable supply.
One number that would help is nameplate X average demand.
IF any spare is generated then there is the export option.
It seems that when export of chemical based H2 renewables is discussed as an economically attractive option, that it will be at fairly low efficiency so need to be a high value .


Someone else has been querying what the numbers given represent:

'In an article by Sonal Patel in POWER, the author focused on clarifying what that 1,000 MW of renewable power actually represents. The project could store up 1,000 MW of renewable energy year-round. It could be provided to "variability-challenged" Western power markets.

Patel also said that, responding to a request for clarification about the 1,000-MW figure attributed to the facility, which will comprise both storage and power generation, "MHPS said on May 31 ACES is still in the project scoping phase, and that the next step, which entails securing off-taker agreements for power, would determine the mix between renewable hydrogen, CAES, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), and flow batteries."

So, renewable hydrogen is not the only technology on tap. Three others are involved to serve the needs of 150,000 households for a year. The ACES initiative will deploy a total of four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. Joining renewable hydrogen are compressed air energy storage; large-scale flow batteries; and solid oxide fuel cells.'

That is fairly small scale stuff.

1.5 to 2 times demand cannot begin to describe the complexities of oversupply.... Knowing that new uses will be found when the current needs are met especially those technologies that can work well and match variable supply

What variety of word salad is this?  Caesar?  Waldorf?

As soon as spare electrons have a destination, they meet demand exactly.

First, there's no such thing as "spare electrons".  Second, there's no automatic matching of supply to demand.  The grid relies upon the sheer mechanical inertia of its connected rotating machinery for its second-by-second stability.  Instantaneous surpluses or deficits of power in the system cause that machinery to speed up or slow down, varying the power frequency from its specified 50/60 Hz.  If the frequency varies too far from spec, plants "trip" off-line; enough of this and you get blackouts.  On a time scale of half a minute, the grid is stabilized by plants using "AFC", automatic frequency control.  This throttles plants up when frequency starts to lag, and down when it goes too high.

"Renewables" reduce stability of the grid by both increasing the variability of supply and reducing the inertia required to buffer that variability (as well as problems with "reactive power").  The only real solution to a grid with large amounts of "renewables" is a system to supply lots of reactive power and create more inertia, either real or synthetic.  Synthetic inertia systems are going to be tricky, because they will almost certainly have hard limits.  Hit those limits and the inertia isn't there any more, throwing the grid back onto its already-inadequate mechanical inertia.  That is all too likely not to end well.


Spare electrons or excess e-energy or stored e-energy can be used to automatically supply/match supply & demand. Current switching power units can be controlled to do it progressively & smoothly enough not to offset the power grid.

That is already being done on a regular basis between Hydro and Wind power plants. Solar power plants and energy stored in 1,000,000+ BEVs and FCEVs will soon be added as energy sources to make 24/7 REs a reality.

E-energy producers/distributors will have to adapt to this new reality.


Can the grid mix be compared to a Caeser salad? That would be Greek for many

There is an important tradition of comments in this space questioning proposed future - often revolutionary or disruptive technologies that 'may' change our lives in the near future. The most unlikely examples have been described as vapour ware and associated with fund raising promotion or over enthusiastic ambitious and unrealistic perspective.
Occasionally the crowd miss the mark and the idea flies in under the radar.
Scepticism works best in a world where things change slowly or predictably but as people have both recognised new urgency about global warming amongst other pressing issues and at the same time have new tools in technology that are being adapted to previously undescribed processes and outcomes, it becomes harder to predict outcomes based on previous knowledge.

It is certainly important to understand the history as well as stay informed to the present thinking but as the future is as close as tomorrow, we also need to adjust our planning to take account of possible future developments while not loosing common sense to enthusiasm .
We must also include understanding something of the system operator or
us - as humans. That's where things become a bit worrisome for me.


Pumped hydro storage built long before renewables to balance the grid.
So large scale storage not new.
As E-P points out the stability of 50/60HZ comes from the mechanical inertia of all the motors and generators spinning in the grid. Originally this was
'free' in the sense that as only spinning generators could make power (on a large scale) you got the inertia whether you wanted it or not.
As you add non synchronous generation the inertia declines. So you have to add inertia somewhere. Real or synthetic.
Can be done but synthetic likely to have issues.
Think of it like the 737 max 8 control system, the plane not inherently stable now and you have to continually have to correct. Very problematic if one part of the system fails.
The first of these CAES plants were built to store cheap off peak power from nukes.
If you had a mountain you would use pumped hydro.
The salt caverns are also a geographic feature that can be exploited. No more no less.
At the moment all the seasonal storage of gas in the US (and quite a lot in Europe) is stored in such caverns,
The CAES system can be as big or as small as you like. Only about the economics.
All the bits work. And the inertia they add is real. So it helps system stability.


Maybe excess renewable power exists at times in California (solar) or west Texas (wind) but I can guarantee that we definitely do not have excess renewable power in Utah. We have comparatively few wind turbines as we do not have steady winds in the state and we do not have that much installed solar. They would be off waiting to see how the NuScale modular nuclear power plant goes. The initial installation is supped to just north of here in Idaho but will be part of Utah rural power.

E-energy producers/distributors will have to adapt to this new reality.

AlzHarvey, it is not the purpose of the consumers to serve the generators.  It is the purpose of the generators to serve the consumers.  THAT is the reality, and always has been.

Wind and PV are unfit for serving demand, as they are not dispatchable.  The only thing they can do is save fuel/water.  At some point the cost of accommodating them becomes greater than their benefits (including climate impacts), and adding more makes literally everything worse.


Time and 24/7 near future clean REs will confirm SAEP wrong, even where he lives or in neighbouring States.

Will he change his name calling behavior and be mature enough to admit it?

The same need for acknowledgment will apply to current 350 KW and near future 750 KW charging facilities that he refuted for many years.

New none competing large overly priced NNPs that he is still supporting?

We are not in a perfect world and we all make mistakes?

Time and 24/7 near future clean REs will confirm SAEP wrong

If they're 24/7, they are not wind or solar.  But those are the only ones which can scale.

All of this was known literally centuries ago, because it's the very reason that "renewables" were abandoned for fossil fuels in the first place.  Time, including the last 50 years of hippy-dippy "soft energy" fantasies, has proved me right.  The Energiewende has been a massive failure at reducing carbon emissions, and almost 100 Polish scientists and environmentalists have called upon Germany to reverse its nuclear phaseout and eliminate fossil fuels FIRST.

Will he change his name calling behavior and be mature enough to admit it?

Will AlzHarvey learn from history before he winds up on its ash-heap?  Or is he being paid to post greenwash propaganda on this blog, sometimes coming back 2-3 times to post new comments that don't respond to anything that came previous... including his own comment that had no replies?  Does he not remember what he posted previously, or is he paid by the word?

The same need for acknowledgment will apply to current 350 KW and near future 750 KW charging facilities that he refuted for many years.

You're awfully funny.  I've called for multi-megawatt charging from overhead pantographs to recharge heavy trucks in motion on highways.  The sure-fire way to make sure a truck doesn't need more than a 100-mile battery is to have charging lanes every 60 miles, and the way to keep them on schedule is to charge them without even having to slow down.

New none competing large overly priced NNPs that he is still supporting?

"Renewables" are over-priced; they are paid handsomely for benefits that NPPs provide for far less.  Both at home and overseas at Barakah, KEPCO has proven that NPPs can be built on time and under budget IF the regulatory climate is not hostile.  But no amount of regulatory relief, including a license to slaughter endangered bats and raptors, is ever going to make wind farms produce when the wind is calm.

No matter how many times I repeat this it will not change your tune, AlzHarvey.  But others are watching, and they see your broken-record nonsense and things will click.  Red pills will be swallowed.  You are ultimately working against the agenda of your backers.


As my high-school physics teacher once said, "The electrons come with the wires. They are not created or consumed." The batteries or generators just push those electrons around in a closed loop. Open the loop and the electrons stop moving (under all but extreme circumstances).

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