Beacon Power Corp., which developed a first-of-a-kind energy storage facility in New York with the help of a $43-million loan guarantee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 30 in federal court.
The company, based in Tyngsboro, Mass., built a $69-million, 20-MW flywheel storage facility in upstate New York designed to keep the flow of power steady.
Unlike Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra, which received a $535-million Dept. of Energy loan guarantee and filed for bankruptcy in September, Beacon is generating revenue, but apparently not enough to keep it afloat.
LeChase Construction, Rochester N.Y., built the New York plant and is listed as one of the company’s largest creditors. R.W. Beck, Seattle, is also listed as a creditor. The two companies are owed $89,000 and $81,000, respectively.
Earlier this month, Beacon announced it would be building a second 20-MW facility in Hazle Township, Pa., with the help of a $24-million Smart Grid stimulus grant award and a $5-million grant from Pennsylvania.
DOE spokesman Damien LaVera, in an email statement, stressed that the DOE loan guarantee and the stimulus fund grants are different animals, that the DOE loan guarantee was issued to an offshoot of Beacon, not the parent company.
"Because of the unique and growing importance of energy storage and frequency regulation services, the Dept. of Energy awarded Beacon (the parent company) a $24-million grant in November 2009 to construct an additional 20 MW flywheel plant, with Beacon required to provide matching funding," he said. "To date, less than $1 million of that grant has been spent. Similarly, the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program approved a $2.2-million award to Beacon to help it conduct research and development on an advanced flywheel technology. Roughly two-thirds of that grant remains unspent."