Grid-Scale Frequency Regulation Using Flywheels

Published By Beacon Power Corp

  • By Matthew L. Lazarewicz, Todd Ryan
  • Published August 2010
  • 7 Page(s)

The grid frequency regulation function addresses the balance between the network’s load and power generated. The intent is to maintain the grid at the target 50Hz or 60Hz operating point. When there is more load than generated power, frequency drops, and vice versa. The system operator generates a signal, Area Control Error (ACE), based on the difference between load and power. Traditionally, frequency regulation is managed by varying the output of fossil fuel or hydro generators connected to the electric grid. The author presents a new method in which electrical energy is recycled to keep the system in balance. First, absorbing energy when it is in abundance, then discharging when there is a power shortfall. The proposed system is based on kinetic energy storage technology in high-speed flywheels. The cost and performance of storage-based regulation can offer significant advantages over traditional generator-based regulation.


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Beacon Power is commercializing high-performance flywheel-based energy storage systems for reliable and efficient electricity grid operation. The Beacon Smart Energy Matrix™ is a megawatt-scale solution that provides fast-responding, emissions-free frequency regulation services. The company has three 20 MW plants under development and sells turnkey systems directly to utilities.

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Grid-Scale Frequency Regulation Using Flywheels

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