Eco Factor: Flywheel system to help renewable energy plants store power efficiently.
Beacon Power is constructing a unique power plant in Stephentown, N.Y., near Albany, which will store energy in flywheels. Storing energy in flywheels isn’t anything new, but Beacon Power claims that their system feature new materials that include carbon fiber as well.
Usually grid operators reserve one percent of the generated energy, but in case of renewable energy power plants the reserve will likely increase to 2 or 3 percent because renewable energy sources aren’t that reliable. The idea here is to store excess renewable energy in flywheels, which can later be released when energy is not being generated.
The company is building 200 flywheels for its new plant, each of which weighs about 2000 pounds and spins at 8000 to 16,000 rpm. The flywheel energy storage system is also efficient as it gives back about 85 percent of the energy that was put into it.