BESS operators to provide their own firefighting crew? New safety regulations drafted for large Battery Energy Storage Systems
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After a number of BESS-fires in New York State, regulators have now put together the first draft of new safety regulations for large-scale battery energy storage sites, reports FireEnginerring.com.
On Tuesday, February 6, the Inter Agency Fire Safety Working Group released its first draft of recommendations for security, safety and operations at battery-based power storage sites.
The group was called together in 2023, after three fires in battery storage sites across New York state.
As CTIF.org reported in 2023: in Chaumont, Jefferson County, a battery facility attached to a solar power generation plant caught fire and burned for four days at the end of July. This fire prompted health and safety concerns and a temporary shelter-in-place for nearby residents at the time.
In a December 2023 report, it was determined that the Chaumont fire, as well as the other two incidents in Orange and Suffolk counties, did not produce any dangerous levels of toxins in the air. Therefor it was found that there are no risks or health concerns for those responding to, or being near, the fire site.
The group suggests 15 recommendations for updates to the statewide fire safety code. For one, there is a requirement that local authorities will have more resources during the siting process. This could include a peer-review of all battery storage facility plans to provide expert feedback to local authorities on the needs, concerns and critical points of a project.
The group also suggested expanding the definition of which battery systems must be made explosion-proof. The recommendations would also require that companies who own and operate battery facilities provide their own expert staff to be available on-site when a battery fire starts.
These recommendations are currently only drafts and the public comment period is open until 3 p.m. March 5, 2024.
Photo Credit: Three Mill Bay Fire Company Inc.