DOE Finalizes $43 Million Loan Guarantee for New York State Energy Storage

August 11, 2010

Photo of a construction crane lifting specially equipped containers onto permanent foundations.

Crews delivered specially equipped containers in June to permanent foundations in Stephentown, New York, to support Beacon Power's flywheel energy storage system.
Credit: Beacon Power

DOE announced on August 9 that it had finalized a $43 million loan guarantee for Beacon Power Corporation's 20 megawatt (MW) innovative flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York. The company said the plant—the first of its kind in the world—will help improve the stability and reliability of the state's electric grid by acting as what the company termed "shock absorbers", using the flywheel to absorb and discharge energy to balance power generation and consumption. The flywheel facility, which is estimated to cost $69 million, will provide approximately 10% of New York's total capacity to regulate frequency on a typical day. Overall, the project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on petroleum products. Beacon said the operation will create 20 construction jobs in New York and 40 permanent jobs in Massachusetts, where the company is headquartered. The company will contribute roughly $26 million.

Flywheel-based frequency regulation is fast and efficient, ramping up or down 10 times faster than the conventional fossil fuel generators that typically perform this service. Four megawatt at the Stephentown plant are expected to be online and earning revenue by the end of 2010, and the entire plant is scheduled to be online by the first quarter of 2011. Beacon Power is also developing two more 20-MW flywheel-based energy storage plants to provide grid frequency regulation. One plant, to be located at a site within the PJM Interconnection grid—an area encompassing parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia—will be partially funded by a $24 million DOE Smart Grid stimulus grant. The other project, in Glenville, New York, is the subject of a second loan guarantee application that DOE is currently evaluating. See press releases from DOE and Beacon Power.

Meanwhile, DOE announced on August 5 that it is extending the application deadline for a July 2009 loan guarantee solicitation for clean energy projects. The new deadline—October 5, 2010—gives companies six additional weeks to develop and submit Part I applications for a loan guarantee for energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced transmission, and distribution technologies projects. The loan guarantees are provided under Section 1705 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Part II application deadline is still December 31, 2010. See the DOE press release and the DOE Loan Guarantee Program Web site.