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New energy storage project planned near Rosamond

The speaker at the Sept. 7 meeting of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council was Curt Hildebrand, Senior Vice President, Commercial Affairs for Hydrostor, Inc., a company based in Canada. Hildebrand introduced a new long-term, cost effective and emissions free energy storage facility the company plans to build in the Antelope Valley.

Hydrostor is currently in the permitting process for the Willow Rock Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility to be located on 70 acres west of Rosamond near Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd. The project, formerly known as Gem Energy Storage Center, will be the company's flagship project in the United States. The company is also working on A-CAES projects in Canada and Australia.

A-CAES is an underground facility that can store excess energy from wind and solar generators under high pressure during periods of low demand for use during periods of high demand – using high pressure air to generate emissions-free electricity. The Willow Springs area was chosen for the bedrock needed to create the underground caverns and for its proximity to the Southern California Edison substation, to which it will be connected.

The project was approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in July. As the permitting agency, they will oversee the project's development. Construction of the $1 billion project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024 and is estimated to be operational by 2028.

For more information on A-CAES and the project, go to the company's website at http://www.hydrostor.ca/projects/.