Governor Patrick Announces Expansion of Beacon Power in Tyngsboro
$5 million in loans will help maker of clean energy storage system expand new headquarters and manufacturing facility, doubling jobs
"Beacon Power is another in a series of clean energy technology companies that is making Massachusetts its home, and the world its customer," said Governor Patrick. "I'm proud of the help our agencies are giving this impressive young company, and proud to have them here in Tyngsboro."
To assist in its expansion, Beacon Power has received a commitment for $5 million in loans from MassDevelopment's Emerging Technology Fund and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust's Business Expansion Initiative, which supports expanding production capacity for renewable energy technology firms in Massachusetts. As a result of this expansion, Beacon Power is increasing its Massachusetts employment from 40 at the beginning of 2008 to a planned 108 by the end of 2009. Beacon Power has invested $7.5 million on its facility build-out thus far.
"Beacon Power has always been a Massachusetts-based company, and we applaud the state's commitment to clean technology industry," said Bill Capp, President and CEO. "Governor Patrick and his team understand the importance of supporting development-stage companies like ours. We're grateful for this funding and we look forward to continuing to expand our operations, add jobs, and move forward with commercial operations."
Beacon Power is a publicly traded clean energy technology company that develops and manufactures high-energy flywheel devices, which store energy for short periods of time, initially to be used for purposes of frequency regulation on the power grid.
Electricity flowing on the grid must be maintained at 60 cycles per second (or Hertz), the frequency for which all electrical equipment is designed, or electrical supply becomes unstable. Currently, grid frequency is regulated by continual small adjustments of the output of power generators then running to meet overall load. These are typically large, fossil-fuel power plants, and adjusting their output up and down is costly and inefficient, and it generates excess emissions simply to control frequency.
Beacon's flywheel devices regulate frequency by capturing excess energy when too much is flowing through the grid, storing it as rotational energy, and sending it back when the grid needs more energy. Beacon Power estimates that its flywheel storage system could cut frequency regulation costs by 10 percent and that a typical installation will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from frequency regulation by 100,000 tons over 20 years compared with a gas-fired peaking plant, and 175,000 tons compared with a coal-fired base-load plant.
"As a device to make use of rotational energy, the flywheel is as old as the potter's wheel, but Beacon Power has captured that ancient principle for the clean energy we need for our future," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles. "Besides maintaining the reliability of our power system in an emissions-free way, Beacon's flywheel storage will enable the power grid to better manage power from renewable power sources like wind and solar, which are intermittent in nature."
Beacon Power's technology has been approved for use in three of the country's five open-bid regulation markets. The U.S. Dept. of Energy selected Beacon Power's demonstration plant as one of only 16 companies nationwide (out of 153 proposals) to be a finalist for the federal Loan Guarantee Program, and the only project selected in the "Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability" category.
"Beacon Power's expansion here is yet another example of how Massachusetts is creating the conditions for business growth and job creation in key industry sectors like clean energy," said Daniel O'Connell, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. "By expanding its Tyngsboro facility, the company will create nearly 70 new jobs and commercialize sustainable energy storage technology that could benefit other businesses in the Commonwealth."