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Energy storage facility draws worries – EQ Mag Pro

Energy storage facility draws worries – EQ Mag Pro


RCSD says some concerns not addressed at meeting

ROSAMOND : A proposed energy storage facility near Rosamond, one that employs a novel approach by using compressed air stored deep underground in a cavern and generating electricity when it is released, has prompted concerns by the Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors.

The Willow Rock Energy Storage Center (formerly Gem Energy Storage Center) is proposed by Hydrostor to be on about 70 acres at Sweetser and Tehachapi-Willow Springs roads, west of the community.

If all goes as planned, construction on the 500-megawatt storage facility could begin, in 2024, and be operational, in 2028.

The company is seeking certification from the California Energy Commission for the plant, which uses Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage, or A-CAES. A Commission committee considering the application for certification held an informational hearing on the project, on Aug. 11, in Rosamond.

“It is a fascinating design and concept,” said Director Greg Wood, who attended the meeting.

However, he also has concerns about the project that were not addressed during that meeting and he decided to bring them to the Board and District staff for a response.

Chief among those is the large, above-ground reservoir, holding 450 to 500 acre-feet of water. (An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons.) This water is what has been displaced after being used to contain the compressed air at pressure underground.

The company said, in its presentation, that it would purchase this initial supply and would need approximately 20 to 60 acre-feet, each year, to make up for losses. Some of that is expected to be collected from moisture in the air in the form of condensation.

“Rosamond is not known for its high humidity,” Wood said, and would likely require obtaining outside water somewhere to make up for losses, each year.

The large, 2,000-foot-deep cavern, in which the compressed air would be stored in pods, “is what concerns me the most,” he said.

The main water flows into the local underground aquifer come from the Tehachapi Mountains, close to the project site. Although the company claims its cavern will be watertight, “We need to see proof of that, because I do not believe they can dig a hole that big and that deep and not hit water,” Wood said.

He is also concerned about the impact to two District wells nearby, if digging the cavern should disrupt the underground water flow.

This is also a concern for the larger Antelope Valley basin, should the cavern change water patterns below.

“Because of the potential of a serious, catastrophic outcome for the community of Rosamond and the Antelope Valley basin at large, there should be facts and documentation to alleviate these concerns,” Wood said.

Wood suggested the District apply to be an intervenor in the Commission’s certification process, making it a participant in the process and perhaps better able to weigh in on the certification.

“We need to make sure that our voice is heard and our concerns are addressed before they actually go full force on this project,” he said.

Director Byron Glenann agreed with the concerns, specifically about where the project would get the water.

He also suggested their concerns should be brought to the Antelope Valley Watermaster, the body established to oversee the 2015 court settlement that set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley.

The Board agreed to send Wood’s report to not only the Watermaster, but also Kern County Planning and Natural Resources.

Source: avpress
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network