A fire that broke out in a Tesla megapack battery at a PG&E energy storage facility in Monterey, California, is out. Roads have reopened and local residents allowed back home but warned to remain vigilant.
The local authority said in an update that while the fire is considered fully controlled, smoke may still occur in the area for several days.
Numerous firefighters were called to tackle the blaze, which was reported starting at 2am on Tuesday. County of Monterey stated the fire was isolated to a single battery pack at the facility and had been contained.
Energy company PG&E commissioned the 182.5-megawatt (MW) Tesla Megapack system – known as the Elkhorn Battery – at Moss Landing in April this year. It is one of the biggest utility-owned, lithium-ion battery energy systems in the world.
Batteries like the Megapack enable grid operators to move extra capacity between counties or states. They can ensure that power from intermittent sources can be stored and used when demand rises.
The county told people to stay at home with windows closed and ventilation systems off in the neighbouring areas due to the potential for hazardous materials from the fire. Air quality testing will be conducted.
Fire captain with North Monterey County Fire, John Hasslinger, told CNBC news: “We let the initial Megapack burn out. It’s too early to know what was the cause of the fire.” An investigation will follow in the coming weeks.
PG&E’s Jeff Smith said: “Safety systems at the facility worked as designed when the issue was detected, and automatically disconnected the battery storage facility from the electrical grid.”
PG&E reports stated that the battery packs have their own thermal alarms which actually shut the facility down if the temperature reaches a certain level.
Photo: Moss Landing Power Plant. Google Earth