Beacon Power Corp., whose much-watched flywheel system is designed regulate grids using efficient energy storage, is teaming with American Electric Power (AEP) and Columbus Southern Power Co. to build a 1-MW regulation facility in the coming months at an AEP site in Groveport, Ohio.

The integrated matrix of 10 high-power flywheels built and tested by Beacon Power earlier last year will be connected to the grid within the operating region of the PJM Interconnection.

The Smart Energy Matrix essentially functions like a kinetic or mechanical battery, providing energy that is instantly available when needed. It draws electrical energy from a primary source, such as a utility grid, and stores it in flywheels spinning at speeds higher than 20,000 rpm. Upon power loss, the motor driving the flywheels acts as a generator, supplying power to the customer’s load, or the grid.

Beacon in January inked an agreement to share detailed operational and performance data with National Grid, the UK-based utility that supplies power to much of the Northeastern U.S. Under that agreement, National Grid will have access to technical information that could help it decide whether to deploy Beacon Power’s flywheel systems to supplement its own power sources and offset variations in the power available from wind farms.

The agreement with AEP calls for Beacon to deliver, install, test, and operate—at its expense—a 1-MW Smart Energy Matrix. AEP will provide and install materials and services needed to interconnect Beacon’s system to PJM, including the foundation, electrical transformer, associated wiring, and connection to power lines. AEP has already completed the necessary system impact study and executed an interconnection agreement. Installation of the Smart Energy Matrix is scheduled to begin in the middle of this year.

When the 1-MW flywheel system is installed and connected, Beacon will begin providing regulation services directly to PJM and earning commercial revenue from such services, the company said in release. AEP will provide the site and certain integration services in support of the project, and in exchange gain in-depth knowledge about the performance of Beacon’s system and its impact on frequency regulation and grid stability.

Sources: Beacon Power, AEP, POWER