Amber Kinetics signs flywheel energy storage contract with PG&E

amber kinetics energy storage elp

Amber Kinetics signed an energy services agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for 20 MW of storage using its four-hour duration Gen-2 Flywheel Systems.

The company believes its steel flywheel technology will drive down pricing while enhancing operational safety and flexibility for utility-scale energy storage.

Amber Kinetics Gen-2 Flywheel Systems are the first four-hour discharge duration flywheels. Commercial flywheel system capabilities are usually measured in minutes, with limited usefulness to electric utilities seeking to integrate renewable energy at transmission and microgrid levels.

Amber Kinetics’ technology offers critical advantages over batteries. Even with unlimited cycling during their 30-year lifespan, the systems have no degradation. Because they are 98 percent steel by weight, they pose no risk of fire, chemical explosion or hazardous materials release.

Most important, because they are manufactured from readily available, abundant raw materials and don’t need replacement at regular intervals, they are more cost effective than batteries.

Energy Nuevo, Amber Kinetics’ 20 MW project located in the city of Fresno, was selected by PG&E in California’s first energy storage solicitation. It 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 ESA, beginning in 2020.

“Our flywheel systems are designed to be safe, sustainable and highly reliable,” said Ed Chiao, chief executive, Amber Kinetics. “Our vision is to provide cost effective, flexible capacity for utilities looking to use storage to reduce costs and integrate renewable resources.”

The company is 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 U.S. military installations.

Amber Kinetics’ corporate offices and pilot manufacturing facility are located in Union City, California, near San Francisco. The company is vertically integrated, manufacturing its technology and developing energy storage projects using its flywheel system — a common model in the PV solar industry.

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