Beacon Power Connects Flywheel Energy-Storage System To California Wind Farm

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Tyngsboro, Mass.-based Beacon Power Corp. has shipped, installed and successfully connected a Smart Energy 25 flywheel energy-storage system at a wind farm in Tehachapi, Calif. The system is part of a wind power/flywheel demonstration project being carried out for the California Energy Commission (CEC).

The primary goal of the project is to demonstrate that advanced control technology with energy storage can help expand the delivery of wind energy by effectively increasing the capacity of constrained transmission facilities in the area.

The Tehachapi, Calif., area has high-potential wind resources where, according to a report from the California Independent System Operator (California ISO), up to 4,200 MW of wind power may be added in the coming years.

‘As California builds the infrastructure to achieve 33 percent renewable energy resources by 2020, this research will be important in operating the transmission grid with more renewables in the future,’ says Jeffrey Byron, commissioner of the CEC.

The project will incorporate ‘intelligent agent’ controls and Beacon's flywheel energy-storage technology to demonstrate how to enable as much wind-generated electricity to be delivered as possible without exceeding the limits of the locally constrained transmission system.

Under the scope of this project, the Smart Energy 25 flywheel will normally provide frequency regulation. However, during times when the local sub-transmission line becomes constrained due to a lack of reactive power or thermal overload, intelligent agents will override the regulation function and direct the flywheel to take action that in a full-scale commercial system would help alleviate the constraint.

Once the constraint is resolved, the system will return to its primary function of performing frequency regulation. In this way, the project will provide proof of concept of how flywheel energy storage can deliver additional value to a grid operator beyond its main function of frequency regulation.

The CEC is funding the project, and Alternative Energy Systems Consulting is the prime contractor. Other stakeholders include the California ISO and Southern California Edison.

SOURCE: Beacon Power Corp.

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