We pursue research and development projects as a way to further improve cost performance, and to investigate the technical and commercial potential of new applications of our core flywheel technology. We target new applications that exploit the strengths of our energy storage technology: fast response; extreme cycling capability; no degradation of storage capacity; high efficiency; zero CO2 or other emissions; excellent reliability; and low operating and maintenance costs.
Renewable Generation Wind Integration Project
In 2008, we began providing contract services for a wind-related R&D project co-funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The CEC identifies this project as CEC-PIER Contract 500-07-020, Agents for Renewables Project. Other partners working on this project include: Southern California Edison, the California ISO, and Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, the project's prime contractor.
The main objective of the project is to find better ways to coordinate and maximize energy production and delivery from wind generation resources located in the Tehachapi area of California, an area that has insufficient transmission capacity to handle the projected increase in new wind generation. Another goal of the project is to identify potential options for commercializing any new application that might be developed from this effort.
The project includes one of Beacon's 25 kWh Smart Energy 25 flywheels, as well as the application of "intelligent agent" controls. The primary goal of the project is to find a way to deliver as much wind energy as possible without exceeding the dynamic rating limits of the locally-constrained transmission system. Results will be scaled to assess the possible impact of installing a much larger energy storage resource.
Wide-Area Energy Storage and Management System to Balance Intermittent Resources
In 2008, we completed work under Phase I of a planned multi-phase R&D project with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bonneville Power Administration, the California ISO, and the California Energy Commission. The goals of the project include developing principles, algorithms, market integration rules, and a functional design and specification for an energy storage and control system that has the potential to help the Bonneville Power Administration and the California ISO better cope with wind generation intermittency and unexpected fast ramps from the deployment of new wind resources. A system resulting from this project, if deployed, would be expected to accomplish these goals by recycling excess energy, controlling dispatchable load and distributed generation, and managing inter-area exchanges of excess energy between the Bonneville Power Administration and California ISO Control Areas. The technical approach includes coordinating and co-optimizing large hydro facilities with flywheel or other energy storage facilities. Another goal of the project is to complete a cost-benefit analysis and develop a commercial business model that can justify the investment in a large-scale multi-megawatt system.
Phase I is completed and results are promising. Because flywheel storage is capable of compensating for the inaccuracies caused by response delay, dead zone, and deviation characteristics of the hydro power plant, simulation showed that the aggregated hydro power plant and flywheel storage plant could provide a faster and more accurate regulation service than the hydro plant alone. Simulation results clearly seemed to demonstrate the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed Wide Area Energy Management and Energy Storage system, and it was concluded that a total system of hydro resources and flywheels could be highly effective in mitigating the effects of intermittent wind resources in BPA's and CAISO's service territories. Phase II goals include providing numerical factors needed for the design of the system architecture and completion of a design specification for such a system. Phase II will involve the use of one 100 kW, 25 kWh Smart Energy 25 flywheel. Deployment of a full scale system could involve many megawatts of flywheel energy storage capacity.
For more information on this potential application, see paper: Coordinated Multi-Objective Control of Regulating Resources in Multi-Area Power Systems with Large Penetration of Wind Power Generation.