Wind-energy storage park gets loan from Iowa
January 20, 2009

The Iowa Power Fund is going to loan $3.2 million to the Iowa Stored Energy Park, which intends to compress air using wind power at times when energy demand is low and then release that air to power generating turbines when more electricity is needed. It's essentially a way to turn air into a battery. There are a lot of meritorious environmental benefits from compressed-air energy storage, but there are also some potential causes for concern for the water industry. Similar plans that would compress gases underground -- not normal air, but carbon dioxide for environmental sequestration -- have revealed potential hazards to underground aquifers. Water and dissolved minerals can be very sensitive to changes in conditions like pH. Fortunately, we are capable of monitoring for pH and particulate contamination, but the municipal water industry needs to pay close attention to anything people propose to do deep underground.

January 2009
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last revised January 2009