Tesla Battery Fire At PG&E Substation Closes California Highway

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Alfred Peru
person sitting inside car

A Tesla Battery fire at a PG&E substation in southern California has closed the California Highway, closing traffic for hours. The incident has resulted in felony injury and arson charges against the utility company. Tesla has agreed to supply the energy stored at the facility with Tesla batteries.

PG&E’s deal with Tesla

PG&E has announced a deal with Tesla to install 182.5 megawatts of energy storage in Moss Landing, California. It will be part of a larger program to increase California’s energy storage capacity. The energy storage system will include 256 Tesla Megapack battery units and 33 concrete slabs. The system will be able to dispatch 730 megawatt hours of energy during peak demand.

As part of this agreement, PG&E will share Confidential Information with Tesla and to the California Public Utilities Commission. This information will be anonymized so that the company cannot use it to identify a Participant. Nonetheless, the PG&E and Tesla can use the information without the Participant’s consent.

PG&E’s new Elkhorn Battery is now operational

PG&E’s new Elk Horn Battery has become operational, the culmination of nearly four years of planning. The Elkhorn project, designed by Tesla and owned by PG&E, can now dispatch up to 730 megawatt-hours of electricity to the California power grid during peak demand. The battery system has the capacity to store solar power during the day and release it to the grid when the need for electricity rises. Currently, the battery system is connected to the California Independent System Operator, which controls nearly 80 percent of California’s electricity flow.

The new battery is one of nine projects to increase PG&E’s battery energy storage capacity. The company plans to add 3,330 megawatts of battery energy storage by 2024. Besides PG&E, companies like Tesla have also been working on large battery energy storage projects. The Tesla-built Hornsdale Power Reserve, for example, uses Tesla batteries.

Vistra’s energy storage system uses Tesla batteries

A recent fire in Vistra’s energy storage system caused overheating and a fire alarm to go off. Firefighters responded to the scene and found melted battery racks. The fire happened five months after the first fire occurred at the same facility in September 2021. Since then, reactivation efforts have been halted and the Phase 1 area has been shut down while investigations continue.

Vistra is currently planning a third expansion of its Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility. The company’s first expansion quadrupled the size of the battery system and made it the largest battery storage installation in the world. The previous largest battery storage project in the world was in Hornsdale, Australia. It used Tesla batteries, and was colloquially known as Tesla’s “Big Battery.” The company is now planning an even larger expansion of the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility.


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