More good news for New York State: in addition to last week’s announcement on the AES energy storage project, the Energy Department has finalized a $43 million loan guarantee for Beacon Power Corporation’s flywheel energy storage plant. Not only is the project estimated to create 60 jobs in New York and Massachusetts (where Beacon Power is headquartered), but this innovative 20 megawatt plant will help bring clean technologies to market by improving the stability and reliability of the state’s electric grid.
Here’s how it works: the Beacon Power’s Gen 4 flywheel system is designed to perform frequency regulation on utility grids by absorbing and discharging energy to balance power generation and consumption. Because the flywheels quickly store and release from the grid, they can follow rapid changes in grid demand. In fact, flywheel-based regulation is fast and efficient, ramping up or down 10 times faster than ramp rates for conventional fossil fuel generators.
Innovative energy storage projects like the flywheel plant help expand capacity for renewable energy generation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike some traditional energy storage systems, the flywheel plant will not emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide or sulfur dioxide and Beacon Power estimates that the plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions up to 82 percent compared to a coal, gas or pumped hydro plant.