PJM, the electric grid operator serving 14 states in the U.S., is enlisting the help of flywheel energy storage to maintain the stability of its transmission system. A 20MW flywheel plant constructed and run by Beacon Power will begin contributing to the electrical grid after its completion next year. The facility, which is located in the town of Hazle, will keep power in reserve and distribute it as needed to help balance the state’s demand and supply of electricity. This equalizing operation is crucial in preventing power outages.
Flywheel energy storage is a welcome addition to the range of tools grid operators have in balancing electricity supply and demand. It also appears to be an improvement over natural gas plants, which are currently the mainstream method for power compensation. These ”peaker plants’ suffer from inefficiency and high operating costs.
With the increased deployment and integration of renewable energy into the central grid, the spectre of wide fluctuations in power supply looms large for utilities. In turn, consumers and businesses and businesses will have to contend with a higher risk of service outages. Energy storage appears to be an indispensable part of our energy future, inextricably intertwined with the inevitable rise of renewable energy. While energy storage maintains the stability of the electrical supply, will it also translate to higher prices for grid consumers? Leave your comments below!
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