Beacon Power wins flywheel-based energy regulation contract

Beacon's contract with American Electric Power (AEP) and one of its operating subsidiaries, Columbus Southern Power Co., entails building a 1-MW Smart Energy Matrix regulation facility at an AEP site in Groveport, Ohio.

Beacon Power Corp. (Tyngsboro, Mass), a company that designs and develops advanced products and services to support more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation, announced on Feb. 23 that it has signed a contract with American Electric Power (AEP) and one of its operating subsidiaries, Columbus Southern Power Co. The contract will entail building a 1-MW Smart Energy Matrix regulation facility at an AEP site in Groveport, Ohio. The system, which will be connected to the grid within the operating region of the PJM Interconnection (PJM), will provide flywheel-based frequency regulation services. Flywheel energy systems typically make substantial use of composite materials.

“AEP is a major player in our nation’s electricity markets and we value their assessment of our system’s performance,” said Bill Capp, Beacon president and CEO. “This agreement, along with one we have in place with National Grid, provides Beacon with the opportunity to share detailed operational and performance data with two of the largest utilities in the world.”

“We are a leader the U.S. in the utilization of utility-scale energy storage systems, but it is vital that we continue to increase our knowledge on how best to deploy and integrate different storage technologies into the existing electricity grid,” said Craig T. Rhoades, vice president – Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services for AEP. “We’re looking forward to assessing the operating performance of this flywheel energy storage system.”

When the 1-MW flywheel system is installed and connected, Beacon will begin providing regulation services directly to PJM and earning commercial revenue from such services. AEP will provide the site and certain integration services in support of the project, and in exchange gain in-depth knowledge about the performance of Beacon’s system and its impact on frequency regulation and grid stability.

The agreement calls for Beacon to deliver, install, test and operate, at its expense, a 1-MW Smart Energy Matrix. AEP will provide and/or install materials and services needed to interconnect Beacon’s system to PJM, including the foundation, electrical transformer, associated wiring and connection to power lines. AEP has already completed the necessary system impact study and executed an interconnection agreement. Installation of the Smart Energy Matrix is scheduled to begin in mid-year 2009.