As the push for clean energy continues to forge full-steam ahead, energy suppliers have a difficult task at hand. The industry hinges upon the ability to leverage more efficient technologies operated by employees with a strong grasp of engineering and advanced industrial mechanics.
At the same time, consumer demand for clean energy sources has pushed for larger projects that put pressure on the grid and the corresponding need to find ways to connect existing infrastructure with new sources. A recently announced $8 billion project in Wyoming reflects the increasing call for alternative and greener energy projects in the U.S.
More than 500 miles of clean power
The Denver Post reported on a proposed project involving a collaboration among multiple energy providers, including Duke Energy Corporation and Dress-Rand Group. The ultimate goal is to create a wind turbine space in southeast Wyoming that would provide 2,100 megawatts of power.
In addition to a storage facility, there would be more than 500 miles of power lines that extend from the wind farm to California. The Golden State represents one of the strongest markets from clean power, due in part to the residents, as well as the state government that has put a premium on green projects.
According to Manufacturing.net, the connection between the Wyoming wind farm and the citizens in southern California – Los Angeles, in particular – would be divided by an energy storage station in Utah.
"Energy storage, paired with renewable energy, has been the holy grail of utilities and energy companies," explained Travis Miller, an analyst for investment research firm Morningstar.
The challenges of green energy projects
The project is expected to provide enough energy for 1 million homes in California. The project is far from a done deal for many reasons. The anticipated completion date is 2023, which leaves ample time for setbacks, including shifting government policies and economic conditions.
There's also the feasibility of the Utah-based energy storage site. Costing $1.5 billion, the facility would be in a location that is already home to a coal-powered plant. In addition, it requires significant engineering talent to develop the system of caverns that would store compressed, high-pressure air, which is distributed through generators to create energy.
At the same time, there's already an existing $8-billion wind farm under construction in the southern portion of Wyoming, The Denver Post indicated. It's expected provide California with 3,000 megawatts of power through a 725-mile power line. This operation began in 2006 and has come a long way in meeting U.S. regulations, a task still facing the conglomerate hoping to build the new wind farm.
California's energy demands are expected to jump by 18 percent in 10 years, while the state also set a goal of 33 percent renewable energy sourcing by 2020. As a result, the region is ripe for green projects. However, success is continent on energy suppliers finding the right talent to help complete the projects. Engineering recruiters will likely play a pivotal role in helping energy companies strengthen their staff.