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Flywheels Go Online To Support Smart Grid

July 12, 2011

Pioneering Power Plant Fires-up in NY

I’ve taken a few weeks off from posting for a vacation and to recharge my blog batteries. I’ll have some good stories about my trip back east to study the history of World’s Fairs, Blimps, Subs, UAVs and hot dogs.

In the meantime, here’s an interesting announcement about an innovative use of a 5,000 year old technology – flywheels. I’ve been a flywheel fanboy since the 70’s when I worked on factory punch presses. There will be many future applications for these silent spinning mechanical marvels. Like this…

World’s First Grid-Scale Flywheel Energy Storage Facility

The world’s first grid-scale, flywheel-based energy storage plant is going online in Stephentown, New York. The 20 MW plant will operate continuously, storing and returning energy to the grid to provide approximately 10% of New York’s overall frequency regulation needs.

Bill Capp, Beacon Power president and CEO, said: “The completion and energization of our first full-scale commercial flywheel plant is a true milestone and cause for celebration. Our event will recognize the individuals and organizations that were instrumental in supporting this achievement, as well as give guests a chance to see the operation in person. When compared to other methods, our Stephentown flywheel plant offers the cleanest and most cost-effective solution for frequency regulation ever deployed on a power grid.”

200 High-Speed Beacon Flywheels Spin-up to 20 MW Capacity

Stephentown Plant under construction

TYNGSBORO, Mass., Jun 21, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) —

Beacon Power Corporation (Nasdaq:BCON), a leading provider of advanced products and services to support a more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid, announced that the Company’s first flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York, has achieved its full 20-megawatt (MW) capacity. The plant, which is the largest advanced energy storage facility now operating in North America, utilizes 200 high-speed Beacon flywheels to provide fast-response frequency regulation services to the New York electricity grid. A formal inauguration ceremony will be held on July 12th.

“New York’s competitive marketplace for electricity provides fertile ground for energy innovations such as Beacon Power’s flywheel system. It’s great to see pioneering technology bringing new solutions to meet New York’s energy needs,” said Stephen G. Whitley, president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).

“It is great news that Beacon Power’s new flywheel energy storage plant has reached full capacity,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “NYSERDA has supported this Stephentown plant in our ongoing effort to encourage the use of new technology to improve the reliability of the grid and reduce CO2 emissions. We are proud to partner with Beacon Power.” See Beacon Power  release…

How it Works

Related articles…

IEEE Spectrum: Flywheels Keep the Grid in Tune

Technology Review: Automakers Give Flywheels a Spin

Nov. 1, 2011 – Beacon Power files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy


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