Update 6:05 ET: PG&E said that property damage to the battery is expected to exceed $50,000. Details regarding safety system were added to paragraph 4.
Tesla’s Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility, located in Monterey County, California caught fire last night around 1:30 AM after one Tesla Megapack was reported ablaze.
PG&E told Teslarati that it became aware of the fire at 1:30 AM, and that, as of 9:28 AM, that fire is still being fought by local firefighters along with assistance from PG&E.
The fire seems to have started in an isolated Megapack, according to details released by PG&E. The fire was confined to a single Megapack, which is Tesla’s commercial battery storage system. The safety systems at the facility worked as designed when the fire was detected. The battery storage facility was automatically disconnected from the electrical grid, the company told us.
PG&E said the Elkhorn Battery Storage System has a safety system that consists of various protocols:
- Thermal alarms within battery packs with the capability of triggering a plant shutdown if battery temperatures exceed safe operating limits.
- Early warning system using visible and audible alarms that will warn coworkers and first responders of fire risk and to evacuate the area.
- An incident command center located a safe distance from the batteries that’s equipped with alarm monitors, cameras, an emergency shutdown control and other tools to manage an incident without putting people in harm’s way.
- Pre-Fire Plan and training program involving both PG&E coworkers and North (Monterey) County Fire District
There have been no injuries to onsite personnel, and customers have reported no outages at this time. Reports have indicated that Highway 1 has been closed due to the fire. PG&E did not include this in their statement.
The 182.5-megawatt energy storage system was commissioned and certified for market participation by the California Independent System Operator on April 7, 2022. The battery helps store excess energy from solar panels and helps California avoid blackouts during heat waves and other times when energy use is high.
256 Tesla Megapacks are present on the site, with the ability to store and dispatch up to 730 megawatt-hours of energy to the grid at a maximum rate of 182.5 MW for up to four hours during times of high demand. Construction on the project officially began in July 2020.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.
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