Energy Efficiency, Grid Scale, Storage

Beacon Integrates Additional MW of Flywheel Storage on New England Grid

Beacon Power Corporation has successfully connected and integrated an additional megawatt (MW) of flywheel energy storage on the New England power grid. This brings the company’s total installed capacity to 3 MW, all of which are operation and earning revenue from frequency regulation services.

Beacon added the third megawatt as part of a planned expansion of the system that has been providing regulation service to the grid from the company’s Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, headquarters since November 2008, when the first MW was connected.

In July 2009, Beacon connected a second MW, running separately on a different power line at the same site. Beacon has now successfully integrated multiple megawatts of flywheel energy storage as a system, operating on the same grid connection – an important technical accomplishment – with unified supervisory software and operational control systems.

“We’re quite pleased with the results we’re seeing in both technical development and commercial deployment,” said Bill Capp, Beacon president and CEO. “This latest achievement verifies our ability to interconnect, operate and control two 1-MW modules as an integrated subsystem of a full-scale 20-MW plant. Our 20-MW plants will be constructed by linking ten 2-MW subsystems together to achieve the full capacity. This ability to expand incrementally using 2-MW building blocks is a key technical element in our plan to build plants quickly and cost-effectively. Our 20-MW facility in Stephentown, New York, where construction has already begun, will utilize this same approach.”

The constantly spinning flywheels perform frequency regulation services by speeding up and slowing down as they absorb and inject electricity from and to the grid. This helps keep the frequency of the alternating current (AC) at 60 cycles per second, and helps prevent grid instabilities from becoming costly regional outages.

Beacon’s flywheel systems also make it easier for the grid to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, whose variability increases the need for regulation.