A fire broke out in Moss Landing, California at an energy storage facility that uses
Tesla batterieson September 20.
Firefighters brought the flames under control later in the day, but not before it shut down a section of Highway 1 and a shelter-in-place advisory was implemented.
The Megapack-like facility, which is owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), was not the first of its type to suffer from a fire. The incident raises concerns about future reliance on energy storage to help the grid handle widespread
Jerry, your car insurance super app, took a closer look at the details of the fire and incidents like it to help determine whether those safety concerns hold any weight.
The fire at PG&E’s energy storage facility didn’t affect the grid
There are innate fire hazards that come with
lithium-ion batteries. While the vehicles and systems that use them aren’t any more prone to catching fire than other energy sources, they can be near impossible to extinguish once a flame is sparked.
Because of this, companies that use them have robust safety policies and systems to help avoid fires and mitigate any damage and danger when they do occur. The fire at PG&E’s Moss Landing facility shows exactly how such a system should work.
Reuterssays that as soon as the company’s system detected the issue, it automatically cut the facility’s connection to the power grid, avoiding any outages for customers. It was also confirmed that no PG&E staff were injured as a result of the incident.
Tesla hopes the energy storage business will one day match car sales
Elon Musk has high expectations for Tesla’s Megapacks. While the company’s EV sales are easily its main source of income now, Musk says that solar energy and battery storage will make up roughly half of Tesla’s business in the long term.
History has taught us to take Musk’s claims with a grain of salt, but in this case, he seems to be putting his money where his mouth is. Facilities are already popping up in the U.S. and around the world. Tesla says its Megapacks are operating in over 50 countries.
In fact, a facility in Australia, the largest of its kind in the world, also dealt with a
Megapack firelast year. That fire was caused by an undetected coolant leak and took three days to get under control, but again, no injuries were reported.
Will Tesla’s Megapack business affect its EVs?
Besides the shared technology being used for the Megapack and Tesla’s cars, it doesn’t look like either venture has any serious impact on the other, at least not so far.
The shared materials could force sacrifices for one or the other if Tesla has to deal with a supply shortage, but the growth of both branches could also drive the company to innovate and develop new battery makeups that use more readily-available components.
That, in turn, could help them lower the cost of its EVs, which have been headed in the opposite direction this year, a price hike that isn’t helping the average cost of
car insurancefor Teslas either.
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