Hydrostor proposes 3.2-GWh compressed air storage project in California

Proposed design of the Pecho Energy Storage Center in San Luis Obispo, California. Image source: Hydrostor (handout)

November 24 (Renewables Now) - Canada’s Hydrostor Inc, a developer of a proprietary Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) solution, has proposed to use its technology in a 400-MW/3,200-MWh energy storage project in San Luis Obispo County, California.

The Toronto-based company said its affiliate filed a licensing application with the California Energy Commission (CEC), taking the first step towards a long review and permitting process for the Pecho Energy Storage Center project.

If approved, the Pecho project would require a capital investment of around USD 800 million (EUR 714.2m), and potentially reach commercial operation date as early as 2026, according to Hydrostor.

Hydrostor’s A-CAES system works by using surplus power from a renewable source or the grid to produce heated compressed air. Heat is extracted from the air stream and stored for later use in the process, while the compressed air is sent to purpose-built underground storage caverns where it displaces water to an above-ground reservoir.

When electricity is needed, hydrostatic pressure pushes the air to the surface, where it is reheated with heat stored in the earlier part of the cycle and then run through a turbine to generate power on demand.

In the case of Pecho, the 400-MW A-CAES plant would be capable of flexibly delivering eight hours of storage without relying on fossil fuels or other polluting resources, Hydrostor said.

The A-CAES solution is designed to use proven components from the mining and gas sector, a feature that also helps solve the challenge of finding skilled workforce.

The Pecho Energy Storage Center would be sited near the City of Morro Bay and interconnect at the existing 230-kV PG&E Morro Bay Switching Station. Once online, Pecho will support the region’s need for flexibility and resilience after the 2.2-GW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant retires in 2024-2025, said Hydrostor.

“Deployment of Hydrostor’s unique combination of being a proven, cost effective and carbon-free long duration storage solution will greatly enhance California’s program to fully transition to a reliable and carbon-free energy future,” commented Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor CEO.

“Our A-CAES facilities are designed to operate safely and efficiently for over 50 years with zero degradation. We look forward to working closely with the citizens of San Luis Obispo County to earn their trust and support on our way to becoming a valued member of the community,” VanWalleghem added.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.893)

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Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.

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