Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York, NY –
A seven-acre site west of Albany will soon function like a giant electric battery for the northeast.
This month the federal Department of Energy awarded a $43-million loan-guarantee to Beacon Power to develop a system to store excess electricity through so-called flywheel technology. It relies on rotors that spin inside enormous metal cylinders, retaining kinetic energy until it's needed on the grid.
Beacon CEO Bill Capp says the plant will be especially useful in storing wind and solar power, which are intermittent because they depend on atmospheric conditions.
CAPP: In a way we are helping to support the deployment of renewable energy by keeping the grid stable.
REPORTER: Beacon still has to raise millions of dollars to build the project. Capp hopes that if everything works out, this will be the first of many flywheel units around the nation.