The Advanced Clean Energy Storage project is converting a former coal plant site in Utah into the world’s largest clean hydrogen storage facility. A $504 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will finance the land’s transition into a green hydrogen hub, bolstered by the area’s salt caverns, which function like underground batteries, storing hydrogen gas energy seasonally until it’s needed. The project is expected to help the region move to reliable, clean energy while providing a positive jolt to the economy with new jobs and lower energy prices for businesses and homes.
“… DOE has made it a priority to leverage the potential of the Loan Programs Office to fund emerging technologies that will deploy clean and reliable energy to Americans,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Accelerating the commercial deployment of clean hydrogen as a zero-emission, long-term energy storage solution is the first step in harnessing its potential to decarbonize our economy, create good-paying clean energy jobs, and enable more renewables to be added to the grid.”
The new plant, in Millard County, will convert excess wind and solar power to a storable form. Because wind and solar often produce extra power in the spring and winter seasons and not enough in summer, the energy needs to be stored efficiently for year-round use. It’s an exciting project that will set the stage for similar transitions across America and the globe.
“The world is watching this project,” said Rob Webster, a co-founder of Magnum Development, one of the companies behind the new facility. “These technologies haven’t been scaled up to the degree that they will be for this.”
Beginning in 2025, the initial fuel for the new Utah plant will mix natural gas and hydrogen, using 30% hydrogen and 70% natural gas. By 2045, the plant will be powered entirely by hydrogen.
The goal is that when the demand for power rises, the hub will pump hydrogen out of the salt cavern storage to the Intermountain Power Plant, where it will move throughout the power grid.
“I’m pleased to see the Department of Energy support Utah’s efforts to become a world leader in hydrogen,” said Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. “This is not only a win for Millard County and Utah, but it is also an important step toward developing new energy technologies as we utilize an ‘all of the above’ approach to meet our energy demands.”
The Advanced Clean Energy Storage project will not only solve uneven power flow from renewable sources; it’s expected to create more than 400 construction jobs and 25 operations jobs over the next few years. The project is also crucial in advancing the new federal goal of net zero emissions by 2050, designed to slow climate change and create a greener future.