Lessons from Iowa: Development of a 270 Megawatt Compressed Air Energy Storage Project

Posted: January 19, 2012 - 16:40 / Reports

The Iowa Stored Energy Park was an innovative, 270 Megawatt, $400 million 
compressed air energy storage (CAES) project proposed for in-service near Des Moines, Iowa, in 2015. After eight years in development the project was terminated because of site geological limitations. However, much was learned in the development process regarding what it takes to do a utility-scale, bulk energy storage facility and coordinate it with regional renewable wind energy resources in an Independent System Operator (ISO) marketplace. Lessons include the costs and long-term economics of a CAES facility compared to conventional natural gas-fired generation alternatives; market, legislative, and contract issues related to enabling energy storage in an ISO market; the importance of due diligence in project management; and community relations and marketing for siting of large energy projects. Although many of the lessons relate to CAES applications in particular, most of the lessons learned are independent of site location or geology, or even the particular energy storage technology involved.