Beacon Power Corporation (Beacon Power) has signed a two-year information sharing and performance evaluation agreement with the National Grid plc (National Grid) to evaluate flywheel technology for grid applications. As per the agreement, both companies will share technical, performance and economic data associated with Beacon Power’s flywheel energy storage systems and their potential operational value to National Grid’s electricity transmission networks.

The aim of the agreement include National Grid’s evaluation of Beacon Power’s flywheel energy storage systems for fast-response frequency regulation and for wind-related ramp mitigation, another potential large-scale grid stability application.

“National Grid is committed to assessing new energy technologies and their capacity to help create a more efficient, environmentally responsible and cost-effective modern grid,” said Stan Blazewicz, vice president, global head of technology for National Grid. “The positive attributes of flywheel energy storage – especially its high efficiency, zero carbon emissions, and extremely fast response – make it a technology of significant interest and one we are keen to investigate.”

“National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned utility companies in the world, with an extensive footprint in the United Kingdom as well as the northeastern U.S.,” said Bill Capp, Beacon Power president and CEO. “Prior to this agreement, we collaborated closely with National Grid in 2006 and 2007 on our demonstration system in Amsterdam, New York, as well as more recently on three interconnection projects in Massachusetts and New York. We believe that additional benefits can come from the broader sharing of information provided by this new agreement.”

Both these companies will focus on sharing of technical information and performance results for Beacon Power’s Smart Energy Matrix that the company is currently operating under ISO New England’s Alternative Technologies Program. The two companies will also share technical information and analysis of the potential economic and performance benefits of fast-response flywheel regulation and wind-related ramp mitigation, in US and UK.

The Ramp mitigation is defined as the ability of regulation and reserve generation units to quickly compensate for a rapid system-wide change in aggregate power output caused by sudden changes in power production. As an intermittent resource, wind power generation often experiences rapid fluctuations in power output. As the amount of wind generation on the grid increases, many grid operators foresee the need to increase total regional ramping capacity to maintain proper energy balance.

As per the agreement, Beacon Power will work with National Grid to forecast future increases in the demand for regulation capacity resulting from greater deployment of wind power. National Grid will also work with Beacon Power to define an optimal control algorithm for Beacon’s fast-response energy storage technology that would maximize regulation benefits on the grid.