Bonneville Pacific Corp. of Salt Lake City has acquired the controlling interest in Pacific Turbine Systems Inc. of San Francisco in the company's desire to play a significant role in the emerging energy storage business, according to Raymond L. Hixson, BPC president.

The number of energy shortfalls during peak hours of electricity use in the United States is increasing and PTS has developed an innovative, cost-effective and environmentally safe technology that can immediately be applied to solve the problem.Called "synthetic pumped storage," the idea is to generate enough power to allow existing power companies to meet maximum energy demand without adding new generating capacity.

Hixson said proposed modular energy storage installations will provide 20 megawatts of peaking power for four hours. This system is self-contained which eliminates many of the regulatory, licensing and construction impacts present in more conventional installations.

The modular configuration and smaller scale of this type of facility allows these projects to be located close to the point of need. Customized features are held to a minimum through the incorporation of standardized equipment, Hixson said.

PTS is working on a research and development contract using this energy storage technology for Southern California Edison Co.