ABB is to install an integrated commercial flywheel system on Kodiak Island in Alaska to support renewable energy expansion and improve grid stability.

The Swiss technology firm is undertaking the project on behalf of Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), which recently expanded a wind farm and which also needs to address stability challenges resulting from a crane upgrade at the port operations on the island.

ABB’s solution includes two 1 MW PowerStore stabilization generators that are based on a fast-acting, spinning flywheel with ABB inverters to store short term energy to absorb and/or inject both real and reactive power onto the microgrid. They will integrate with a battery system and can switch from a full-power charge to a full-power discharge in less than 5 milliseconds.

Besides providing voltage and frequency support for the new crane, the PowerStore units will extend the life of the two 1.5 MW battery systems and help to manage the intermittencies from the island’s 9 MW wind farm.

"Expanding the crane operations at the port posed a challenge because it meant that we would likely have to rely more heavily on our fossil fuel-based generators," said Darron Scott, president and chief executive officer of KEA. "Not only will the ABB solution allow us to shave the peaks off the crane loads, it will also reduce the stresses placed on our battery systems and extend their lifespans."

Sian Crampsie