Beacon Power closes on Energy department loan

Flywheel-based energy storage manufacturer Beacon Power has closed on a $43 million loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy to help fund the company's $69 million Stephentown, N.Y., frequency regulation plant.

Beacon Power Corp. (Tyngsboro, Mass., USA), a provider of flywheel-based advanced energy storage products and services, announced on Aug. 9 that it has closed on a $43 million loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The transaction closes the financing for Beacon's 20-MW flywheel energy storage plant, now under construction in Stephentown, N.Y., USA. 

"With the closing of this financing for our first 20-MW plant, we look forward to growing the company, creating jobs, and continuing to deploy our technology in the U.S.," said Bill Capp, Beacon president and CEO. "We believe that there is no better way to provide efficient, grid-scale frequency regulation than our flywheel systems, and we're grateful to DOE, through the Loan Programs Office, for its continued strong support and validation of this breakthrough technology."

"The loan guarantee will help Beacon further develop their groundbreaking technology, which reduces our dependence on foreign sources of energy, creates reliable clean power, and most importantly creates jobs right here in our backyard," said Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Beacon Power should be recognized for their contributions to our local economy and for this considerable accomplishment. This exciting announcement also highlights the support for innovative companies contained in the recovery package, which has provided needed access to capital so that small businesses can continue to grow and lead us out of this difficult economy."

The Stephentown plant is the first of its kind in the world. Its composites-intensive flywheel systems will provide frequency regulation services to help stabilize and enhance the performance of the New York power grid and enable greater use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The flywheel plant's emissions-free operation will also significantly reduce CO2 levels compared to fossil fuel-based regulation methods used today. At 20 MW, the facility will provide approximately 10 percent of New York's total frequency regulation capacity on a typical day. As more intermittent renewable energy resources are added to the grid, the regulation market is expected to grow.

The $43 million loan is funded by the U.S. Treasury's Federal Financing Bank, and covers 62.5 percent of the plant's estimated $69 million cost. Approximately $55 million of this amount is for direct equipment and facility costs. Beacon's equity contribution of roughly $26 million is in place, and includes a combination of cash, in-kind assets, and other eligible project costs.