New York residents have renewed their concerns at proposals to install a series of 150-ton batteries on the roof of an apartment block in the Brooklyn district.
The Gothamist website reports that energy company Microgrid Networks’ plan to install the first large-scale residential project in New York City already has fire department approval. It is awaiting special permission from the city, but residents of the Williamsburg building worry about their safety.
The community board has advised against the project. Members said the plan, first reported by Bklyner, was too risky, echoing concerns among tenants who fear a deadly fire or a roof collapse due to the weight of the equipment.
MGN wants to install over a dozen batteries, along with solar panels and other equipment, on the roof of 315 Berry Street, said Bklyner. The block originally served as a munitions factory. It is built with reinforced concrete.
Residents complain the building is in a poor state of repair with cracks in the walls and in the ceiling, and pieces of concrete that fall off the walls and the ceiling every now and then.
“We don’t see a path for installing the amount of energy storage in NYC that’s required without it being part of residential buildings and part of residential districts,” Microgrid Chief Operating Officer Timothy Dumbleton told Gothamist.
The company has two other battery projects in the works in manufacturing zones in Queens and East Williamsburg. It hopes to establish 70 battery storage sites by 2030.
The US state of New York has proposed a framework to achieve 6GW/20.9GWh of energy storage by 2030.
The Gothamist said records show Microgrid has spent nearly $400,000 lobbying city officials to place the energy storage equipment on the roof of 315 Berry St. since 2020.
The FDNY issued extensive battery storage rules in 2019 and has ordered Microgrid and the landlord to take several precautions.