An innovative 53 million dollar energy project under construction at Humboldt Industrial Park North, Hazle Township, Luzerne County was dedicated in June. Only the second installation of its type in the US, the facility—owned and operated by Beacon Power/Hazle Spindle LLC—will use fly-wheel technology to store excess electricity taken from the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland grid and then return it to the grid at periods of high demand. The project commencement ceremony marked the installation of the first of 200 flywheels on the nine-acre site where 20 megawatt facilities will store and release power back onto the grid; when construction is complete, each of the flywheels will be operational within the visible blue enclosures onsite. Beacon Power, located in Tyngsboro, MA, retained BIA to provide site design and permitting, conduct environmental and survey services, and provide structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering services.
Flywheel storage systems are designed to smooth out the peaks and valleys in the power system to help grid operators meet fluctuating demand. According to Barry Britts, President and CEO of Beacon Power LLC, the flywheel system will be linked to the power grid to instantaneously store power or return it to the grid. State and local dignitaries were joined at the commencement by Dr. Imre Gyuk, U.S. Department of Energy, who declared that flywheel technology is more efficient in handling grid power changes than fossil fuel electric generation plants. The Beacon storage system can discharge 20 megawatts of electricity into the grid at a moment's notice - the equivalent of a burst of energy from a small power plant. According to State Sen. John Yudichak, the project will return $4 million in savings to Pennsylvania utility consumers. George J. Hayden Inc. is the general contractor for the project.