"We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with FirstEnergy for their acquisition of this project," said Haddington Managing Director John A. Strom. "The rapid growth in renewable wind energy is accelerating the need for additional bulk energy storage to support renewable integration, and the flexibility of CAES facilities to provide both regulation and load following services, combined with their low energy production costs, are unmatched by any other natural gas-fired generation resource."
Mr. Strom noted that Haddington leveraged its experience in high-deliverability natural gas storage facilities to become the first private equity fund manager to have invested in, developed and now exited a compressed air energy storage development. "We believe CAES technology will play an important role in providing bulk energy storage services to the nation’s electric grid, and we look forward to participating in the development of other new opportunities that utilize CAES," he said.
"The compressed-air technology envisioned at this site would enable us to produce energy that essentially can be stored and used at another time," said Gary R. Leidich, FirstEnergy executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Generation. "Many renewable energy sources – such as wind power – are intermittent and not always available when customers need them. The energy storage aspects of this project could complement our region’s overall renewable energy efforts because the power can be dispatched when it is needed."
Haddington has obtained all permits necessary to develop more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of storage in a 2,200-foot-deep inactive mine on a 92-acre site near Norton. Engineering and equipment design and project cost estimates have been completed for the first 268 MW of generation (two modules) and 220 MW of compression, allowing for substantial expansion after the first phase.
CAES allows utilities to use inexpensive and renewable off-peak electricity to compress air and store it in airtight underground caverns to later meet periods of high demand. When electric power demand peaks during the day, the process is reversed, and the compressed air is returned to the surface and combined with a third of the natural gas typically used in gas-fired power generation to produce electricity.
Haddington Ventures, through its private equity funds, generally makes control-oriented investments in companies focused on gathering, separation, processing, treating, compression, storage, and transmission of energy. Haddington principals developed many of the independent high-deliverability natural gas storage facilities in the U.S., experience which has played an integral role in Haddington’s CAES development efforts. Haddington is unique in that it is the only midstream energy fund in which all principals have substantial direct operating company experience, both in energy-related acquisitions and in energy infrastructure development.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services. Its seven electric utility operating companies comprise the nation’s fifth largest investor-owned electric system, based on 4.5 million customers served, within a 36,100-square-mile area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and its generation subsidiaries control more than 14,000 megawatts of capacity.