Beacon Power LLC, a company that provides energy storage capacity based on grid-scale flywheel technology is installing flywheels and full-scale construction at a new 20 MW energy storage plant in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania.
The first 4 MW of energy storage capacity is scheduled to enter commercial operation in the PJM Interconnection grid system in September, with the full 20 MW plant operational during the 2nd quarter of 2014.
Beacon Power flywheel plants provide frequency regulation services by absorbing energy from the grid when there is too much and storing it as kinetic energy. In times of low energy on the grid, the flywheels cycle energy back onto the grid. These cycles can occur multiple times in time periods as short as one minute, making them responsive to the needs of power grid operators.
The recipient of a Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee of about $43 million in 2009, Beacon Power filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy court in Delaware in November 2011.
In 2012, Rockland Capital, a private investment firm focused on the energy industry, acquired the assets and certain agreements of Beacon Power Corp. and placed them in a new privately-owned company named Beacon Power LLC, according to the company's website. Rockland continues to pursue the development and commercialization of Beacon’s flywheel technology.
The company's first 20 MW flywheel energy storage system in Stephentown, N.Y. commenced full commercial operations and has had no material technical problems since, according to the company's website.
Overall availability at the plant, which uses some 200 flywheels, has been 97 percent. The plant's flywheels have performed more than 4,000 full charge/discharge cycles per year. To date, Beacon's flywheels have accumulated more than 3.5 million operating hours.
Beacon restarted manufacturing at its Tyngsboro, Massachusetts facility in December 2012, and reports that it is again making flywheels. The company began work on the Pennsylvania energy storage plant in Hazle Township in December 2012.