A big battery operated by Tesla caught fire during initial testing of the highly-anticipated utility-scale battery in Victoria, Australia. The fire began to burn for three whole days, but fortunately, there were no disruptions in the local electricity supply, CNBC reports.
The blaze started about 10.30 am on Friday at the battery in Moorabool built by the French renewable energy company Neoen using Tesla battery packs. It all started in a 15 meters long lithium battery bank weighing roughly 13-tonne encased in a shipping container. The battery bank acted as a spreader, and after a while, the whole pack caught fire.
Nearly 150 firefighters from the Country Fire Authority and Fire Rescue Victoria came to respond to the incident. According to the sources, the cause of the fire is still unclear. However, it did not spread to the nearby community, and luckily no one was reported injured. Still, it triggered a toxic smoke warning for residents of Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks, and Moorabool, who were advised to stay indoors.
Crews spent the whole night on Sunday to conduct thermal checks and monitor the temperature decline of the two battery packs.
CFA acting assistant chief fire officer Ian Beswicke said, “We’ve had lots of specialists on-site … all that expertise helps us come up with some really good decisions about what we need to do to respond to these types of fires.”
“The plan is that we keep it cool on the outside and protect the exposures, so it doesn’t cause any issues for any of the other components in the power station,” he added.
Two mobile air quality monitors were deployed to the site by Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority. According to the reports on Saturday, there had been “good air quality in the local community”.
In a statement, Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s managing director, said, “There were no injuries, the site was disconnected from the grid, and there has been no impact to electricity supply.”
“Investigation preparations are underway, and physical inspections will commence once the CFA have completed their procedures.”
The affected “Victorian Big Battery” is one of the largest in the world and is scheduled to be operational by the 2021–2022 summer. With a power capacity of 300 megawatts and a storage capacity of 450 megawatt-hours, it should be able to store enough energy to power more than a million homes in Victoria. The fire has now been brought under control.
French renewable energy company Neoen is developing the Victorian Big Battery alongside Tesla and energy company AusNet Services.