Energy Storage Safety

Background:

In addition identifying the potential for 600 MW of energy storage in Massachusetts by 2025 in order to capture $800 million in system benefits to ratepayers, the State of Charge study solicited stakeholder feedback regarding the emerging energy storage marketplace. This feedback suggests that developing energy storage safety codes, standards, and regulations (CSRs) is an industry priority in order to facilitate smooth deployment of energy storage systems.

State of Charge explains that while there are existing building, electrical, and fire codes that apply to stationary energy storage systems, these codes struggle to keep up with the recent, constantly evolving energy storage technologies and applications.The limited guidance provided by existing codes on energy storage leaves stakeholders (including fire personnel and inspection services personnel) uncertain when determining the safety of energy storage systems, permitting energy storage systems, and responding efficiently and effectively to emergency incidents involving energy storage systems.

MassCEC and Energy Storage Safety:

State of Charge specifically identifies MassCEC as one of the key state-level agencies in a position to lead efforts on energy storage safety education, and CSR adoption by AHJs. In order to address energy storage system safety concerns and ensure the efficient development of a safe energy storage industry in Massachusetts, MassCEC is exploring training and educational opportunities for first responders and AHJs, and supporting the development of and adoption of relevant CSRs by local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs).

As MassCEC looks forward to directly supporting stationary energy storage system demonstration projects in the Commonwealth through the recently released Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program, system compliance with current codes and standards is a primary selection criterion in the application evaluation process.The ACES solicitation specifically requires that technologies be certified by a nationally recognized testing lab, and that projects be commissioned with attention paid to complying with the most recent CSRs as of the time of project commission.

Codes, Standards, and Regulations:

Any rapidly evolving technology, including energy storage, poses a challenge to developers of CSRs. As outlined in the ACES solicitation, MassCEC anticipates that these relevant codes will include the 2018 IFC, 2017 NEC, 2018 NFPA 1 and the new UL 9540 and NFPA 855 standards. Additionally, MassCEC suggests that industry stakeholders, and certainly project developers, review all relevant Codes, Standards, and Regulations (CSR) and Inventory of Safety-related Codes and Standards for Energy Storage Systems.  

Moon Island Project:

As a result of collaborations between MassCEC and the Boston Fire Department (BFD) and the City of Boston, MassCEC intends to support a solar plus storage, or storage only system, on Moon Island in Quincy, Massachusetts, which could be used primarily to provide code compliance and energy storage safety training to first responders and possibly code officials, and secondarily to enhance the energy security and independence of BFD’s Moon Island facilities. Moon Island serves as a training location for BFD and the corresponding agencies for 14 other towns and cities.

As a first step, MassCEC has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an engineering design consultant to provide a feasibility and design study for this project.