Beacon Power Awarded DOE Contract to Design Flywheel-Based Frequency Regulation Power Plant

September 05, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Beacon Power Corp. announced that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), to be administered by Sandia National Laboratories, to design a 20MW Smart Energy Matrix frequency regulation power plant. This project directly supports Beacon's plan to develop commercial-scale flywheel-based frequency regulation facilities in the U.S., beginning in 2007. The contract, valued at US $752,500 over a 12-month time period, will provide funding for a portion of Beacon's expected development costs.

Under the contract, Beacon will develop a design specification package for a 20MW flywheel-based frequency regulation power plant; complete a comparison study contrasting the features, costs and benefits of flywheel regulation versus conventional technology solutions; perform an analysis to optimize the unique performance advantages of flywheels in providing frequency regulation; determine the comparative advantages of plant sizes between one and 40MW; and identify, study and rank potential plant locations.

"We're extremely pleased to receive this contract award from the Department of Energy and to undertake this groundbreaking work under the technical guidance of Sandia National Laboratories," said Bill Capp, Beacon President and CEO. "The DOE continues to be a strong and effective force in helping to bring the benefits of flywheel technology to our national electricity grid, as they have supported our Smart Energy Matrix demonstration systems in California and New York. This new project is the next significant step in Beacon's strategic plan, and it will bring us closer to our goal to design, construct, own and operate the world's first megawatt-level flywheel-based frequency regulation power plant."

According to Chet Lyons, Beacon Director of Marketing and Sales, "Another benefit of this project is that it will broaden the understanding of the substantial economic and technical performance advantages of large-scale flywheel energy storage for frequency regulation. We anticipate that this will help us extend our marketing reach to grid operators on a global basis."

Dr. Imre Gyuk, DOE's program manager for Energy Storage Research, commented: "DOE has been pleased to be a partner with the California Energy Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in the development and field testing of two scale-power Beacon flywheel systems. The success of these prototypes gives us confidence that a 20MW system comprising 200 next-generation Beacon flywheels could effectively provide the U.S. grid with a new and more efficient technology solution for frequency regulation."