Now on Kickstarter: a new kind of spinning energy storage device

Will Kickstarter come through for an energy entrepreneur looking for funding for a next-gen energy storage device? A startup called Velkess is looking for $54,000 to build a large prototype of a new type of flywheel, which is a like a spinning kinetic battery.

Cabulous re-brands under new name FlyWheel, adds black cars to lineup

Cabulous, formerly the app known for hailing taxis in major U.S. cities, is re-branding as Flywheel on Thursday, promising to add more transportation options like black cars and eventually expand internationally as part of a push to solve all of a consumer’s transportation needs.

5 Things You Need to Know About Energy Storage

The Electric Power Research Institute has released a report that lays out energy storage technology options, benefits, performance and costs and how the different technologies play a role in everything from managing the electric grid to managing home energy use.

Can Solar Help Usher In Storage for the Grid?

Can the grid handle the growing flow of wind and solar that will come online in the next few years? According to California’s grid operator the answer is yes, but with a particular attention to energy storage policy.

DOE Backs Energy Storage: Beacon Power Scores $43M Loan Guarantee

A series of setbacks for flywheel energy storage last year made us wonder if the technology was just spinning its wheels. But this morning things are looking up for the tech’s long road to commercialization, with word from the Department of Energy that it has awarded a conditional $43 million loan guarantee to Beacon Power (s BCON) to help with construction of a 20 MW flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, NY — the first full-scale commercial deployment of the company’s technology.

The Obama administration also announced a $16 million guarantee today for Nordic Windpower to build an assembly plant for its two-blade 1 MW wind turbine, bringing the number of awards under a much-delayed DOE program to three in the last four months (Energy Secretary Steven Chu made it a priority to accelerate the program when he entered office). In late March, cylindrical solar panel maker Solyndra snagged the first guarantee — for a whopping $535 million — to finance a new factory, three years after it applied for the funds and four years after Congress created the program. While Beacon’s guarantee is small relative to the one offered to Solyndra, it could help boost momentum for flywheel tech as well as the company, which has scored a few key deals in recent months after a rocky end to 2008.
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Daily Sprout

EPA Endangerment Finding: The U.S. EPA said today that greenhouse gases pose a danger to the public, paving the way for the agency to place limits on carbon dioxide and other emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories under the Clean Air Act — and increasing pressure on Congress to pass climate legislation. — Washington Post
Top Energy Storage Options: Utilities, investors and policymakers face a complicated task in trying tp pick the right energy storage technologies for funding. Some of the top players? Pumped hydro, compressed air, flywheel energy, superconducting magnetic energy and thermal energy storage, plus advanced material and flow batteries. — ClimateIntel
Going Niche: Vestas’ move to start building custom turbines for the Chinese market may seem to go against the benefits of economies of scale, but it could be the only way to hang onto its precarious share of a market increasingly dominated by state-supported local players. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital
Canadian Economy Needs Cap and Trade: The most immediate threat Canada faces from greenhouse gas emissions is not environmental, but economic, according to a new report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. — NYT’s Green Inc.
U.S.-Mexico Climate Agreement: President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed yesterday on a new partnership to fight climate change and promote clean energy. The two countries plan to broaden political and technical cooperation through the new Bilateral Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change. — Reuters

Flywheel Energy Storage Hits the High Seas

Things are looking up for Beacon Power (s BCON). The Tyngsboro, Mass.-based developer of flywheel energy storage technology has announced a $3 million contract with U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command to look at flywheels for shipboard applications. Beacon’s flywheel technology uses spinning discs to help stabilize electricity grids, allowing the grids to run more efficiently.


Last November, the company reined in plans on its first commercial project, blaming market volatility, and lowered its capacity target to 3 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2008, down from 5 MW. But that project, currently at 1 MW and operating out of Tyngsboro under ISO New England‘s Alternative Technologies Regulation Pilot Program, was dealt another blow by severe winter weather, which pushed back that new target to the end of the first quarter of this year.

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