Tesla Megapack battery caught fire at PG&E substation in California

A Tesla Megapack in Moss Landing, California

Andrew Evers | CNBC

At least one Tesla Megapack caught fire early Tuesday morning at the vitality storage facility operated by utility PG&E in Monterey, California.

As of late Tuesday morning, there have been no energy outages for PG&E prospects, nor any accidents to on-site personnel because of the fire, in accordance with PG&E spokesperson Jeff Smith. The California utility turned conscious of the fire at 1:30 a.m. on September 20, 2022, Smith stated in an e-mail.

PG&E had commissioned the 182.5-megawatt (MW) Tesla Megapack system, referred to as the Elkhorn Battery at Moss Landing, in April this 12 months.

Gigantic batteries just like the Megapack, in addition to these manufactured by ABB and Northvolt, allow grid operators to maneuver further capability between counties or states, and be certain that energy from intermittent sources might be saved and used when demand is larger, or when there are unplanned outages in a transmission community.

The fires in the vitality storage techniques at Moss Landing are paying homage to incidents involving Tesla Megapacks in Australia. They additionally underscore the challenges of adopting new expertise to enhance the effectivity of the ability grid, and to make better use of electrical energy from intermittent, renewable assets like wind and photo voltaic.

There are two distinct vitality storage tasks at Moss Landing in Monterey. One is operated by PG&E and the opposite by Texas-based Vistra. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Vistra advised CNBC their facility was not impacted by this occasion. However, the Vistra facet of Moss Landing has skilled two overheating incidents in the previous.

California Highway Patrol closed a piece of Highway 1 and redirected site visitors away from the ability for hours following the fire.

A fire captain with North Monterey County Fire, John Hasslinger, advised CNBC late Tuesday that two corporations and 4 fire engines responded to the incident beginning round 1:40 a.m.

The fire fighters used hydrants and water provide put in at the ability, and labored to stop flames from spreading to adjoining batteries and constructions in the bigger system. By round 11:00 a.m. native time, fire fighters shut the water off however some have been staying on location in a single day to make sure that the system didn’t re-ignite.

“We let the initial Megapack burn out,” he defined as per protocols really useful by PG&E and Tesla to the fire division. “It’s too early to know what was the cause of the fire,” he added, however an investigation will observe in coming weeks.

Some residents close to the Elkhorn Battery substation at Moss Landing have been suggested to shelter in place, conserving home windows and air flow techniques closed, attributable to emissions after the fire. That advisory was nonetheless in place late Tuesday.

According to Richard Stedman, an air air pollution management officer for the Monterey Bay Air Resources District (MBARD), lithium ion battery fires can emit poisonous constituents, together with hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid. MBARD didn’t have any fast knowledge about air high quality impacts from the Elkhorn Battery fire, he stated, however will work with native authorities to review the difficulty after the fire has been absolutely extinguished.

PG&E’s Jeff Smith famous, “Safety systems at the facility worked as designed when the issue was detected, and automatically disconnected the battery storage facility from the electrical grid.”

Correction: Previously, Vistra’s vitality storage techniques at the Moss Landing website overheated.


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