Remember Beacon Power, the spinning flywheel manufacturer and the other company in the Department of Energy loan program to go belly-up?
People still need electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, which is why renewable energy developers are increasingly investing in energy storage systems. They need to sop up excess juice and release it when needed.
However, storing large amounts of energy, whether it’s in big batteries for electric cars or water reservoirs for the electrical grid, is still a young field. It presents challenges, especially with safety…
Problems have also afflicted spinning flywheels, which allow power plants and other large energy users to store and release powerful surges of energy. In Stephentown, N.Y., Beacon Power’s 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage facility suffered two flywheel explosions, one on July 27 — just two weeks after it opened — and one on Oct. 13. The company declared bankruptcy earlier this month.