Posts Tagged beacon power

Beacon Power and the Smart Grid

Posted by on Wednesday, 26 May, 2010

The Recovery Act is funding projects, including a smart grid which Beacon Power is setting up. The company headquarters is in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, and the company’s technology will operate around the country, including Chicago and California. According to the California Energy Commission, the Beacon Power technology focuses on creating a flywheel storage system for an energy grid. This method stores energy in the motion of the spinning wheels, allowing a generation system to provide power only when necessary.

The California project is a demonstration of Beacon Power’s technology and it has a capacity of a hundred kilowatts. Beacon’s other projects are much larger. The project under construction in Chicago, has a much greater capacity of 20 Megawatts. It is necessary to design a smart grid with a high capacity to make power generation systems such as wind turbines able to reliably distribute power throughout an area over time.

Beacon Power is also building a 20 Megawatt storage system in Stephentown, New York, and this is the project that is receiving $43 million under the Department of Energy loan guarantee program. Beacon also received $24 million to set up a smart grid in Chicago.

The flywheel technology does not require the usage of wind or solar power to save energy. Beacon’s system can also reduce the amount of energy that an oil, gas, or coal generation plant needs to regulate power supplies, which also reduces the amount of smog and particulate released. According to Sandia National Laboratories, the flywheel technology reduces conventional power usage from petroleum sources by about a percent. This technology will start paying off even before the wind turbines and other renewable generators are installed around the country.