Yuka Yoneda

World’s First Grid Scale Flywheel Energy Plant Opening Soon!

by , 08/11/10

flywheel energy, alternative energy, renewable energy, kinetic energy, clean power, new york, beacon power, power grid, electricity, green technology

While it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as alternative energy sources like solar or wind power, flywheel storage technology is definitely worth looking into. A kinetic energy-based technology that stems from the same elementary movement that potters and spinners have been using for centuries, the power storage tech will soon be harnessed at the world’s first grid-scale flywheel-based energy storage plant in New York. The $69 million plant will go online later this year and will be a force to be reckoned with – Beacon Power, the company behind the operation, estimates that it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 82 per cent over its 20-year life and provide about 10 per cent of the state’s energy frequency regulation needs.

flywheel energy, alternative energy, renewable energy, kinetic energy, clean power, new york, beacon power, power grid, electricity, green technology

The flywheel system will use fast-rotating rims to store excess energy from the grid as kinetic energy that can be tapped into when demand rises or power from other sources is unavailable. Composed of a carbon-fiber composite material, the rims spin on magnetic bearings in a vacuum in order to minimize energy loss due to friction. Flywheel-based energy regulation is both cleaner and faster than traditional methods – it can fluctuate 10 times more quickly to match increasing or decreasing energy demands. The New York plant will be able to flex to changing power demands in under four seconds and can output continuous maximum power for 15 minutes, according to Beacon.

The new plant will be located in Stephentown, New York, and once completed it is anticipated to be able to provide up to 20 megawatts of energy storage capacity for the region’s power grid. The good news is that the first four of those 20 megawatts are set to come online by the end of this year. Of the innovative technology, Bill Capp, president and CEO of Beacon Power says, “We believe that there is no better way to provide efficient, grid-scale frequency regulation than our flywheel systems.”

Via Greenbang

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6 Comments

  1. bobsomm October 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Van-Chuck, the article says it can store 20 MWatts which can be fed back for 15 minutes. That is 5 MW Hours.

  2. van-chuck August 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    The numbers and units in this article are confusing.

    Watts are a measure of power (the rate of flow)
    Watt-hours are a measure of energy (the sum of flows)

    Since we’re talking about energy storage, the units should be measuring the total (sum) amount of energy, not instantaneous power. The article references “20 megawatts of energy storage”, but “20 megawatts” refers to a rate, and therefore doesn’t make any sense when talking about storage capacity.

    It should be “20 megawatt-hours” if this is describing its storage capacity. If it is referring to its maximum instantaneous output then 20MW would make sense, however that would be a relatively meaningless metric since it doesn’t speak to the capacity (although using the 15 minute figure it could be calculated to be 300MWh).

    In full defense of Inhabitat, both the source article and original press release use the same units and are therefore just as confusing (or incorrect).

  3. archonic August 16, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    \”estimates that it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 82 per cent over its 20-year life\”

    Up to 82% over what!?!? Fly wheels have been done at utility scale before, and failed.

  4. MrScottFletcher August 16, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Pretty impressive, though 20 megawatts is less than one percent of the 2.1 gigawatts required to send Marty back in time.

  5. lukep August 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    AWESOME green tech. Makes even Solar look like a corporate polluter!

  6. mrsteve007 August 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    It’ll be interested to see how they do. I have two (now discontinued) beacon power PV inverters, and they haven’t exactly been the best in terms of support or reliability.

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