How to Counter Energy Storage Security Risks
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How to Counter Energy Storage Security Risks

By Energy CIO Insights | Thursday, September 17, 2020

FREMONT, CA: The emergence of renewable energy resources has truly rewritten ways to address growing energy demands. While non-renewable energy resources are exhaustible and are often accountable for drastic impacts on the environment, renewable energy resources are inexhaustible and, most importantly, eco-friendly as well. However, the effectiveness of renewable energy may also depend on certain factors. For instance, solar and wind energy generation is majorly influenced by weather conditions. This challenge is being addressed via energy storage aids such as batteries. The lithium-ion battery, in particular, has gained huge traction in the past few years. However, with an ever-shrinking size of the batteries, huge amounts of energy are being concentrated into these solutions. Thus, a single mishap can result in an increased likelihood of fire and life safety risks.

One of the major concerns related to battery storage solutions is the space to store energy in desired quantities. The national fire protection association (NFPA) has drafted the set of standards NFPA 855 that will help navigate potential obstacles and challenges related to battery storage solutions. The standard requires most installations to have a three-foot distance between groups of 50kWh storage solutions and among those 50kWh groups and the walls. NFPA 855 standard also specifies a maximum stored energy threshold that is particular to each technology.

The specifications of NFPA 855 vary based on the location of the energy storage solutions. The standard segregates the location of ESS into two groups—indoor and outdoor. The standard further defines indoor installations as being in a building dedicated to battery storage solutions or present in a facility that has other applications. If the setup is in a mixed-use facility, NFPA 855 needs a 2-hour fire-rated distance from other areas of the building.

The advancements in battery solutions must be complemented with adequate safety measures. Safety preparedness will not only reduce hazards and health-related risks but also allow the energy firms to improve asset efficiency and sustainability prospects.  

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