Flywheel Energy Storage: The Utility Scale Energy Storage Solution


Seth Sanders

( University of California, Berkeley)

❏ Lecture Slides (Stanford)

❏ Lecture Slides (SystemX Members)

Date: February 18, 2016


Energy storage is now emerging as an essential electric utility resource to effectively enable higher penetration levels of variable renewable generation resources. In California, in response to RPS mandates for increased renewable penetration, Assembly Bill 2514, in conjunction with CPUC rulings, has called for 1.3 GW of flexible energy storage to be incorporated into the energy mix by the three California IOUs during the next few years. Similar actions are being followed in other U.S. states, and worldwide. The talk will review the energy storage landscape, and then focus on the speaker’s interests in advancing flywheel energy storage to meet utility scale challenges. In short, a flywheel functions as a battery, with kinetic energy storage replacing conventional electrochemical processes. Based on numerous implementations and products released during the past 20-30 years, there has been a general belief in the power systems community that flywheels are only suited to short term applications, for example in frequency regulation, grid stability enhancement, voltage support, and in UPS and transit system applications. This is not the case, and the talk will outline how flywheels can be economically designed to meet multi-hour energy shifting applications, that are essential for provision of capacity, and extended integration of variable renewable generation. Some details on product and project development at grid scale energy storage start-up Amber Kinetics will be discussed.

Created: Saturday, March 12th, 2016