Tesla Megapack fire in Australia triggers energy debate

Credit: Tesla

A Tesla Megapack battery fire at the Bouldercombe big battery in Queensland, Australia, has triggered debates about renewable energy solutions. The battery system is currently undergoing its commissioning process. 

Reports from fire brigades and local police indicate that the fire was initially detected at 7:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The fire was confined to a single Megapack 2.0 unit. As of writing, the cause of the battery fire remains unknown. 

Genex Power, the owner of the battery project, confirmed the incident in a statement. The company described the blaze as a “minor fire” that did not necessitate the use of water at all. Genex Power also highlighted that no other Megapack batteries in the site were affected, and the fire was successfully contained. 

“No other Megapack modules have been impacted. The fire is currently contained, and the site has been disconnected from the grid. Genex is working with Tesla Motors Australia Pty Ltd and Consolidated Power Projects Pty Ltd to investigate the root cause of the incident,” the company noted.

In a statement to RenewEconomy, Genex CEO Craig Francis stated that it is currently too early to know the fire’s cause or its impact on the energy storage system. That being said, the isolated nature of the incident suggests that the fire will not have a significant impact on the Bouldercombe big battery as a whole.

The incident has reignited debates over energy sources. Critics of renewable energy were quick to respond to the incident, with LNP Senator Matt Canavan, who is supportive of more traditional energy sources like coal, stating that the new energy grid is worse than the old.

“Our new energy grid is worse than our old energy grid,” Canavan wrote. The official’s comments were supported by renewable energy critics, though they also received opposition from users of the social media platform. 

Federal energy minister Chris Bowen, for his part, countered Canavan by citing recent fires in fossil fuel facilities. “A gas bottle caught on fire at a service station in my electorate last week. It set off a series of explosions and a major fire. I don’t remember you drawing a conclusion about energy safety from that @mattjcan? The LNP will find any excuse to demonize renewables,” Bowen wrote.

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Tesla Megapack fire in Australia triggers energy debate
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