Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Another Loan Guarantee Recipient Goes Bankrupt

Flywheel-based electricity storage company Beacon Power can’t pay its bills.
October 31, 2011

Beacon Power, a company that makes flywheels designed to provide brief bursts of power to stabilize the grid, declared bankruptcy yesterday, according to Reuters. The company had received a $43 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy last year. It used most of that money to build a 20-megawatt energy storage facility in New York.

The bankruptcy comes several weeks after another loan guarantee recipient, Solyndra, declared bankruptcy. The amount of the Beacon Power loan is far less than the $535 million Solyndra received. Unlike Solyndra, which shuttered its manufacturing facilities, Beacon Power’s energy storage facility is reportedly still up and running.

Beacon Power’s technology was aimed at a niche market called frequency regulation—it helped utilities keep the grid operating near 60 hertz. Ordinarily, this is done by adjusting the output of power plants. It’s possible to do the same thing by storing or delivering energy with a flywheel, which could be cleaner and reduce wear and tear on power plant equipment.

Flywheels don’t store much energy, so they don’t address other needs on the power grid, such as providing continuous energy during times of peak demand to reduce the need for polluting peaking power plants. It also can’t be used to store large amounts of energy from wind farms when it’s windy at night for use during the day.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.