T&D World Magazine

Cal ISO Certifies Beacon Power Flywheel Technology

The California Independent System Operator has certified Beacon Power's flywheel technology for use as a frequency regulation resource in the state.

A letter from Jim McIntosh, director, grid operations for the California ISO, stated: "The California ISO is pleased to certify that the 100-kW high-speed flywheel technology demonstrated by Beacon Power is an acceptable technology for potential use as a regulation resource for the power grid. The test unit at the research facility in San Ramon demonstrated the ability to respond to real-time data from the Energy Management System at the California ISO as well as the test data we supplied. The unit's high-speed response rate and outstanding performance were clearly demonstrated to the California ISO and the CEC (California Energy Commission), and documented in the report provided to the Department of Energy."

McIntosh added that "a commercial size facility would, however, have to be significantly larger to provide a noticeable response to our control signals. A 40-MW facility, or two of the plants that Beacon is now designing under a contract to the DOE, could provide a portion of the regulation services required by California ISO. The next step is to install at least a one-megawatt, or preferably a 10-MW, commercial facility with two-way communications with the ISO with full integration into our markets, operations, and settlement systems."

"We are pleased that the California ISO has certified that Beacon's flywheel technology can be used for commercial frequency regulation in California," said Bill Capp, Beacon Power president and CEO. "This is another important milestone in implementing our business strategy to be a provider of frequency regulation services. We appreciate the strong and visionary support of the California ISO, and we are also grateful to our other major supporters, the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, whose solid backing was essential to achieving this milestone."

McIntosh cited additional factors relevant to the California ISO's decision: "Due to its very high-speed ramp rate, this technology also has the potential to provide additional transmission grid services of value. As the amount of wind generation and other intermittent renewables increase in the next ten years, the need for high-speed regulation services will clearly increase. Identification and documentation of the benefits of high-speed flywheel systems could form the basis for discussion of (other) grid-connected services and potential compensation for these services. The deployment of this technology for regulation services could also reduce the amount of regulation required from fossil generating plants, which would lower CO2 greenhouse gas emissions."

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