Enel signs agreement with US company Amber Kinetics on innovative Flywheel Storage System

Rome, June 21st, 2017 – Enel signed a two-year agreement with Amber Kinetics, the US-based start-up born out from UC Berkeley, with the aim of jointly assessing the start-up’s innovative “flywheel” storage technology. The flywheel is an electro-mechanical storage system which consists of a large rotating mass able to store energy capacity.

The agreement gives Enel the chance to study and test the technology and identify full scale, business applications for the technology’s grid integration. Upon completion of a three-month test phase on two synchronised flywheel units in one of Amber Kinetics’ test sites near King City, California, Enel will evaluate the possibility of utilizing the technology in a demo-scale project in one of its thermal power plants.

The 5,000 lb (approximately 2,267 kg) steel flywheel system is charged by converting electric energy, from the power plant or external grid, into the kinetic energy of the spinning wheel which can rotate for up to four hours on a single charge. In times of peaks in power demand, the flywheel turns a generator – automatically or through a control system – converting its kinetic energy back into electric energy which is delivered to the grid.

Through this agreement, Enel expands its exploration of the innovative solutions within the evermore promising energy storage sector, representing another step forward in its quest for the integration of energy storage at all levels of the electricity value chain.Due the growing energy demand on grids, it is increasingly important to find grid balancing solutions to peaks in demand. Amber Kinetics’ flywheel addresses this issue by providing a long-term and sustainable alternative to traditional batteries, providing Enel with a flexible solution to energy demand peaks that can be applied across the company’s diverse generation mix.