Beacon Power applies for grant for composites flywheel plants

The application, for $46 million from the federal economic stimulus fund, will be used to fund up to 50 percent of construction of two plants to produce flywheel-based energy storage systems.

Beacon Power Corp. (Tyngsboro, Mass., USA) announced on Sept. 1 that it has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for grants totaling $46.7 million to support up to 50 percent funding of the company’s next two 20-MW flywheel energy storage plants. Beacon's flywheels are manufactured in part using composite materials.

Beacon applied under the Smart Grid Demonstrations program of DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000036, which authorizes approximately $615 million that DOE expects to allocate across seven Areas of Interest. The company submitted two applications under Area of Interest 2.2, “Frequency Regulation Ancillary Services.” DOE anticipates making grant awards within this Area for one or two storage-based frequency regulation plants totaling an aggregate amount of up to $50 million.

One of the company’s proposed plants would be located in Glenville, N.Y., USA, at a site within the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) region. The other plant is located within an area operated by the PJM Interconnection (PJM).

Beacon Power believes its proposed plants meet or exceed every DOE grant program performance requirement. These include fast response, zero direct CO2 emissions, 10-year minimum system life and demonstrated frequency response capability. DOE demonstrated its support of Beacon’s technology in July by making a conditional loan guarantee commitment for the company’s first 20-MW energy storage plant, planned for Stephentown, N.Y.

Beacon Power president and CEO, Bill Capp, commented, “Beacon has now reached the point where we are ready to deploy our technology on a broad commercial basis. We are currently operating 2 MW of our Smart Energy Matrix flywheel energy storage systems on the New England power grid. We’ve proven that the technology is effective at providing frequency regulation services and that we can generate revenue. We look forward to DOE making its grant awards, which they anticipate will begin in December 2009.”