Beacon Power starts spinning innovative flywheel in Pennsylvania

Beacon Power LLC said Sept. 18 that it has begun commercial operation of its latest flywheel energy storage facility, located in Hazle Township, Pa.

The first 4 MW of energy storage capacity began providing frequency regulation services in the PJM Interconnection market on Sept. 11. The balance of the 20 MW plant will be progressively commissioned until full capacity is reached in the second quarter of 2014.

Barry Brits, Beacon’s president and CEO, said: “The start of commercial operation at our Hazle facility is another major milestone for Beacon Power. We have an outstanding project team that has once again demonstrated its ability to deliver on time and within budget. This project has also been strongly supported and made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy, state and local officials, and the work of Pennsylvania subcontractors, for which we are very grateful.”

During construction, 30 jobs have been generated on the site and all materials for Beacon’s flywheels were fabricated in the United States.

Imre Gyuk, Program Manager of DOE’s Energy Storage Program, said: “It is a pleasure seeing this ARRA stimulus project move from design to construction to commercial operation – keeping our electric grid stable and providing jobs. DOE has supported this technology since the initial prototype and is assured of its continued success.”

Beacon said its grid-scale flywheel project is an ideal resource to help PJM balance power supply and demand cost-effectively. The flywheels store surplus energy that may otherwise be wasted and rapidly inject it back when there is an energy shortfall. The facility corrects imbalances more than twice as efficiently as traditional generators while consuming no new fuel, producing no emissions, and using no hazardous materials or water, Beacon said.

The facility is being built with equity from Rockland Capital and funding support from the DOE and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Beacon will be providing frequency regulation services to PJM under a recently implemented “pay-for-performance” market tariff that recognizes the superior attributes of fast-response energy storage resources. PJM, the world’s largest wholesale electricity market, will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of Beacon’s clean, fast-responding flywheel technology, the company said. Beacon’s flywheels have a product life of more than 20 years and incur low annual operating and maintenance costs.

Beacon Power is a global leader in the development and commercialization of flywheel-based energy storage. The company operates the largest grid-tied flywheel facility in the world at 20 MW, located in Stephentown, N.Y., and has begun providing commercial services at this second plant in Hazle Township, Pa. Beacon’s patented Generation 4 flywheels have accumulated over four million operating hours providing regulation services. The company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility are in Tyngsboro, Mass.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.