PG&E signs agreement for 20MW flywheel energy storage system


The Californian-based utility contracted Amber Kinetics for 20 MW of storage using its four-hour duration Gen-2 Flywheel Systems. PG&E believes that steel flywheel technology will drive down pricing, while improving operational safety and flexibility for utility-scale energy storage.

Amber Kinetics’ Gen-2 Flywheel energy storage systems are reported to be the first four-hour discharge duration flywheels. Traditionally, commercial flywheel system capabilities were measured in minutes, with limited usefulness to electric utilities wanting to integrate renewables at transmission and microgrid levels.

 Flywheel energy storage tech

Located in Union City in the San Francisco Bay Area in Alameda County, California, Amber Kinetics’ Gen-2 Flywheel energy storage systems offers crucial advantages over batteries.

The technology has unlimited cycling during their 30-year lifespan, and the flywheel systems have no degradation. The systems are 98% steel by weight, they pose no risk of fire, chemical explosion or hazardous materials release.

The flywheel energy storage systems are manufactured from readily available, abundant raw materials, and don’t require replacement at regular intervals. They are also significantly more cost effective than battery storage technology, claims the company.

Ed Chiao, chief executive at Amber Kinetics said: “Our flywheel systems are designed to be safe, sustainable and highly reliable.

“Our vision is to provide cost effective, flexible capacity for utilities looking to use storage to reduce costs and integrate renewable resources.”

Energy Nuevo

Amber Kinetics owns a 20 MW project, called Energy Nuevo, located in the city of Fresno was selected by PG&E in California’s first energy storage solicitation.

A company release adds that the Energy Nuevo project is believed to be one of the largest ever for a transmission level flywheel system. Energy Nuevo will provide energy storage under a 20-year energy services agreement, beginning in 2020.

The company is also in negotiations for up to 30 MW of energy storage systems with a Pacific Rim independent power producer, and in discussion for several pilot microgrid programs at US military installations.