Beacon Power Breaks Ground on 20-Megawatt Flywheel Energy Storage Plant 

Interesting story off the web today about a groundbreaking for a flywheel plant in New York. Flywheels, like batteries, offer a way to store energy when there is too much so it can be tapped later when there is not enough energy being produced. That storage capacity is especially helpful for renewable energy systems like wind where the power supply fluctuates.

TYNGSBORO, Mass. & STEPHENTOWN, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Beacon Power Corporation  was joined today by state and local officials at a formal groundbreaking event in Stephentown, New York, signaling the start of construction for the nation’s first full-scale 20-megawatt (MW) flywheel frequency regulation plant. Initial construction work on the 20 MW plant will start this month, including site clearing, adding drainage and fencing, and some landscaping. Full construction is expected to begin in late Q1 2010, and be completed in 16 to 18 months.

Frequency regulation is an essential grid service that is performed by maintaining a tight balance between electricity supply and demand. Beacon’s 20 MW plant has been designed to provide frequency regulation services by absorbing electricity from the grid when there is too much, and storing it as kinetic energy in a matrix of flywheel systems. When there is not enough power to meet demand, the flywheels inject energy back into the grid, thus helping to maintain proper electricity frequency (60 cycles/second). Read more

Also this from Popular Mechanics: How Centuries-Old Flywheels can Improve the Electric Grid

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