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Industry News
Beacon Power installs first flywheels at Pennsylvania energy storage plant

Beacon's carbon fiber composite flywheels are designed to store excess energy during periods of low energy demand, and quickly discharge it during demand peaks.

Posted on: 9/9/2013
Source: CompositesWorld

Tyngsboro, MA and Hazle Township, PA – June 21, 2013 – Beacon Power LLC (Tyngsboro, Mass., USA) a manufacturer of grid‐scale flywheel energy storage systems, was joined this summer by federal, state and local officials at a ceremony in Hazle Township, Pa., USA, signaling the start of flywheel installations and full‐scale construction for the company’s 20‐MW flywheel energy storage plant at the site.

Frequency regulation is a grid reliability service that is performed to correct short‐term unpredictable imbalances in electricity supply and demand. On the power grid, supply of electricity must match demand to maintain frequency at 60 Hz. Beacon’s 20 MW flywheel plant provides frequency regulation services by absorbing electricity from the grid when there is too much, and storing it as kinetic energy. When there is not enough power to meet demand, the carbon fiber composite flywheels inject energy back into the grid. These cycles can occur multiple times in time periods as short as one minute.

Attendees and speakers at the event included U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta – Pennsylvania 11th District; Dr. Imre Gyuk – program manager for energy storage at the U.S. Department of Energy; William Goldsworthy – Deputy Director, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett's Northeast Regional Office; State Senator John Yudichak; State Representatives Tarah Toohil and Mike Carroll, and Commissioner Wayne Gardner – Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.

“Flywheel systems promise to be an efficient and cost‐effective way to provide frequency regulation,” said Gyuk. “DOE is proud to have taken part in the development of this technology from the very beginning. Flywheels will become an important tool in assuring the resiliency and stability of the grid.”

“Pennsylvania has an impressive array of abundant energy resources, matched by our commitment to use these resources both smartly and efficiently,” said Governor Corbett. “Today’s event is an exciting and important step, helping to enhance our electric grid’s security and reliability in a manner that helps lower costs to consumers.”

Attendees at the commencement ceremony witnessed installation of the first of the plant’s 200 flywheel modules. The first 4 MW of energy storage are scheduled to enter commercial operation in the PJM Interconnection grid system in September, with the full 20-MW plant operational during second quarter 2014. Beacon has one flywheel plant already in operation in New York State.

The Beacon flywheel facility provides a fast, accurate and reliable response to grid changes that system operators need to increase system efficiency and power quality. Furthermore, flywheels offer a long asset life with no degradation of performance, as well as the ability to move energy in and out of the grid many more times than other technologies, which contributes to low life‐cycle cost and high‐quality service. To date, Beacon’s flywheels have accumulated more than 3.5 million operating hours.


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