Energy Storage Faces Challenges and Risks Due to Arizona Fire Incidence
Arizona’s leading electric firm wanted to make use of some energy from the afternoon sun and so the firm deployed huge batteries across neighboring areas along with larger solar panels. With this initiative, the firm was expecting to use the stored energy from the sun at night.
Arizona Public Services (APS) was the first to use battery storage technology considered as important for the further development process of renewable energy and for a strong power system.
In April, a fire incidence occurred at the west of Phoenix. The fire explosion affected the lives of 8 firefighters and a police officer and who was later taken to the hospital for treatment. This incidence has underlined the risks and problems that can emerge as utilities prepare for rapid technology growth.
The investigation is under progress and critically analyzed by advocates and energy storage scientists.
This incident has raised concerns amongst various sections of the society. Local authorities, as well as reputed commercial and residential electrical contractors in Phoenix (QuickElectricianServicePhoenix), have urged people to opt for reliable electrical firms who can provide efficient solutions like safety inspection, a quick repair, instant installation, etc. And at the same time, advise you on the best ways to reduce your electricity consumption and costs.
Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, Director George Crabtree said,
This is getting attention, and I think everyone realizes that too many safety incidents will be detrimental going forward.
APS has formed a team of engineers, fire reactors, and safety experts to experiment with utility, Fluence –battery manufacturer and others to remove and test the 378 modules and to know what actually happened. The 378 module consists of McMicken battery system.
Back in 2017, APS at a substation outside Phoenix in Surprise deployed battery systems of 2 megawatts and one more battery system close to the Festive Ranch development in Buckeye. The battery system helps the utility to control variations caused by clouds or the setting sun in regions with large rooftop solar panels.
In comparison to 850 megawatts, these batteries are very small, and APS promised to develop them by 2025. Energy storage and batteries will scale up once there is drop-in renewable energy price, states demand that a significant amount of energy should be generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind. New solar farms will be developed in Arizona and also in the west.
Battery Researcher, working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and CEO of Ambri, Donald Sadoway mentioned,
Absent battery storage, the whole value proposition of intermittent renewable energy makes no sense at all. People just don’t understand that the battery will do for electricity what refrigeration did to our food supply.
At the time when the power is less-expensive, utilities will generate solar energy, mostly in the afternoon and when there is more demand and price is high, it will sell the energy, mostly in the evening.
Two US states namely, California and Hawaii have already taken steps to reduce fossil fuels from their energy system by setting objectives in the coming years, and the majority of states are demanding to generate more energy from renewable sources.
Currently, most of the utility batteries used on the system or in designing are lithium-ion based. These lithium-ion batteries are used in mobile phones and laptops. If the lithium-based batteries get overcharged or heat up more than results in an incidence ‘thermal runaway.’ The fire created through it depends on itself and is impossible to stop unless the fuel gets exhausted.
Lithium-ion batteries in recent times have created fear in the minds of people for its explosion in Samsung phones, Boeing’s 787 aircraft, and hoverboards. Analysts are working in creating awareness on how to handle fire explosion. Lithium-ion battery explosion was an important topic of discussion at the National Fire Protection Association, group’s vice president and chief engineer, Christian Dubay stated.