Under the two-year agreement, the companies will share technical, performance and economic data associated with Beacon's flywheel energy storage systems and their potential operational value to National Grid's electricity transmission networks. Objectives of the agreement include National Grid's evaluation of Beacon's flywheel energy storage systems not only for fast-response frequency regulation, but also for wind-related ramp mitigation - another potential large-scale grid stability application.
Flywheel technology, which has made extensive use of composites, has been under consideration and development as a way to store energy derived from wind and other renewable sources. Of particular concern is use of flywheels to store wind energy captured during low-demand or off-peak cycles.
"National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned utility companies in the world, with an extensive footprint in the United Kingdom as well as the northeastern U.S.," said Bill Capp, Beacon Power president and CEO. "Prior to this agreement, we collaborated closely with National Grid in 2006 and 2007 on our demonstration system in Amsterdam, N.Y., as well as more recently on three interconnection projects in Massachusetts and New York. We believe that additional benefits can come from the broader sharing of information provided by this new agreement."
Ramp mitigation refers to the ability of regulation and reserve generation units to quickly compensate for a rapid system-wide change in aggregate power output caused by sudden changes in power production. As an intermittent resource, wind power generation often experiences rapid fluctuations in power output. As the amount of wind generation on the grid increases, many grid operators foresee the need to increase total regional ramping capacity to maintain proper energy balance.