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Beacon Power Signs Collaboration and Development Agreement With Gaelectric

TYNGSBORO, Mass., May 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Beacon Power Corporation (Nasdaq:BCON), a leading provider of advanced products and services to support a more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid, announced that it has entered into a collaboration and development agreement with a subsidiary of the Gaelectric Group of Ireland. Gaelectric is a significant wind developer in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Montana.
/ Source: GlobeNewswire

TYNGSBORO, Mass., May 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Beacon Power Corporation (Nasdaq:BCON), a leading provider of advanced products and services to support a more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid, announced that it has entered into a collaboration and development agreement with a subsidiary of the Gaelectric Group of Ireland. Gaelectric is a significant wind developer in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Montana.

The agreement establishes Gaelectric as Beacon's exclusive marketing and development partner in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The main objectives of the agreement include:

  • Marketing and sales of multi-megawatt Beacon flywheel energy storage systems for frequency regulation, frequency response, and short-term spinning reserve.
  • Development of flywheel-based projects that Gaelectric would own and operate, and in which Beacon will have the option, but not the obligation, to become a co-development partner/project owner.
  • Development of flywheel-based projects that Beacon would own and operate, with Gaelectric having a similar option, but not the obligation, to become a co-development partner/co-owner.
  • To identify opportunities for flywheel technology on the Irish grid, where a detailed model has been completed that shows excellent potential. Both companies believe the opportunities identified in the study have broad market potential in Europe, North America, Asia, and other parts of the world.

In Montana, Gaelectric is currently developing up to 3,000 MW of wind, with its first project of 430 MW expected to be commissioned in 2014-2015. As one of the largest wind developers in that state, Gaelectric will be closely following the progress and performance of the 1 MW flywheel system that Beacon is installing there this year for NorthWestern Energy.

Bill Capp, Beacon Power president and CEO, said: "Gaelectric is a leader in wind energy and energy storage development, and they truly understand the value of fast-response flywheel storage in conjunction with wind. They have ambitious development plans in Ireland, the UK and Montana, where we're already working with NorthWestern Energy, the state utility. These are all areas that could greatly benefit from having flywheel storage to help stabilize wind output. Our strategic agreement takes what has proven to be a highly positive working relationship to the next level. We're excited by the opportunities we're focusing on, including large-scale system sales and project co-development in multiple markets."

Brendan McGrath, Gaelectric Group CEO, said: "Our initial focus in developing energy storage was compressed air energy storage (CAES), which is an hours-to-days storage solution. But as we learned more about the energy balancing issues related to wind deployment in Ireland, the UK and Montana, we saw the need to add a storage solution in the seconds-to-minutes timeframe. Beacon's flywheel technology is extremely effective in providing this service, and their energy storage systems can be deployed incrementally as wind assets are deployed. We're tremendously excited by this collaboration. It gives us better control over our ability to develop wind projects where we want, and it complements CAES, our other energy storage offering."

Commenting on the announcement, the CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, Michael Walsh, said, "The collaboration between Beacon Power and Gaelectric highlights an innovative approach for the integration of wind. Enabling technologies such as Beacon's flywheel systems can complement the benefits of high wind penetration."  

Significant Wind Power Market Opportunities for Flywheels

Ireland has a total wind penetration target of 40% by 2020, and though it is currently at an installed level of 15%, at certain times of the year the country experiences instantaneous wind power generation of over 50%. This level of penetration on a island grid requires enabling technologies for grid services to reduce wind curtailment.

To identify the opportunities for energy storage that increased deployment of wind will create, Gaelectric and Beacon jointly funded an extensive study of the Irish grid under various scenarios of future wind penetration. The study concluded that deploying fast-response flywheel technology on a very large scale would improve grid stability, reduce wind curtailment, and improve the efficiency of the entire Irish grid, resulting in significant monetary and CO2 emissions savings.

About Beacon Power

Beacon Power Corporation designs, develops and commercializes advanced products and services to support stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation. The Company's primary business strategy is to build merchant plants and sell turnkey regulation facilities to meet both domestic and international grid requirements using its patented flywheel energy storage technology. Beacon's Smart Energy Matrix, which is now in production, operating and earning revenue, is a non-polluting, megawatt-level, utility-grade flywheel-based solution to provide sustainable frequency regulation services. Beacon is a publicly traded company with its research, development and manufacturing facility in the U.S. For more information, visit .

About Gaelectric Group

Gaelectric is a group of companies founded in 2004 with assets in Europe and the U.S. Each Group company is active in different fields of renewable power generation and energy storage, with experienced teams specialized in all aspects of project planning, permitting, finance, engineering and management. Gaelectric is active in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and North America, where Gaelectric operates regional development offices. Gaelectric North America opened its first U.S. office in Great Falls, Montana, in 2006, and now employs 18 people in its overall North American operation. In Montana, Gaelectric has secured approximately 250,000 acres of high-wind resource areas, and has a medium-term objective of bringing up to 3,000 MW of wind generation capacity to shovel-ready stage. 

About Gaelectric Energy Storage

Gaelectric Energy Storage (GES) is the storage integration arm of Gaelectric, specializing in the commercial deployment and development of proven energy storage technologies in grids with high levels of renewable energy resources. It is currently focused on the use of flywheel systems for second-to-minute range storage, along with compressed air energy storage (CAES) for longer duration. GES's flagship project is a CAES plant in Larne, Northern Ireland (NI). The development of this project and Gaelectric's activities in NI as a wind developer have given it unique insight into the potential value of short-duration storage there and elsewhere.

Safe Harbor Statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The Material contained in this press release may include statements that are not historical facts and are considered "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect Beacon Power Corporation's current views about future events, financial performances, and project development. These "forward-looking" statements are identified by the use of terms and phrases such as "will," "believe," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," and similar expressions identifying forward-looking statements. Investors should not rely on forward-looking statements because they are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from Beacon's expectation. These factors include: a short operating history; a history of losses and anticipated continued losses from operations; the complexity and other challenges of arranging project financing and resources for one or more frequency regulation power plants, including uncertainty about whether we will be able to comply with the conditions or ongoing covenants of the Federal Financing Bank loan for our Stephentown, New York, facility; our need to comply with any disbursement or other conditions under the DOE Smart Grid grant program; a need to raise additional equity to fund Beacon's projects and our other operations in uncertain financial markets; conditions in target markets, such as that some ISOs are taking longer than others to comply with FERC's requirement to update market rules to include new technology such as ours, and also such as that frequency regulation pricing is lower in the short-term than at many times in the past; our ability to obtain site interconnection approvals, landlord approvals, or other zoning and construction approvals in a timely manner; limited experience manufacturing commercial products or supplying frequency regulation services on a commercial basis; limited commercial contracts for revenues to date; the dependence of revenues on the achievement of product optimization, manufacturing and commercialization milestones; dependence on third-party suppliers; intense competition from companies with greater financial resources, especially from companies that are already in the frequency regulation market; possible government regulation that would impede the ability to market products or services or affect market size; possible product liability claims and the negative publicity which could result; any failure to protect intellectual property; retaining key executives and the possible need in the future to hire and retain key executives; the historical volatility of our stock price, as well as the volatility of the stock price of other companies in the energy sector, especially in view of current conditions in the financial markets generally. These factors are elaborated upon and other factors may be disclosed from time to time in Beacon Power filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Beacon Power expressly does not undertake any duty to update forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: Chris Witty Darrow Associates 646.438.9385