The world’s largest lithium ion battery plant made by Tesla, near Jamestown, South Australia. Picture: REUTERS
The world’s largest lithium ion battery plant made by Tesla, near Jamestown, South Australia. Picture: REUTERS

Australian authorities have declared a fire at one of Tesla’s biggest utility-scale battery installations that started on Friday and burnt for three days is under control.  

The fire has sparked calls for the government to conduct its own probe into what happened before pressing forward with wider use of the technology.

Firefighters had successfully completed the operation of opening all doors to the container of the battery, with no sign of fire, the Victoria Country Fire Authority said in a statement. The fire occurred within one of the Tesla Megapacks at the Victorian Big Battery during initial testing Friday morning, and continued burning until Monday afternoon.

“There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it,” acting assistant chief fire officer Ian Beswicke said in an earlier statement. The cause is undetermined and will be investigated once it is safe to do so, according to the CFA.

Battery storage technology is being deployed on an ever-growing scale to meet demand to back up the surge in wind and solar power generation, and Tesla’s technology has been used at several utility-scale projects across Australia.

Australia has been at the forefront of large-scale battery deployment since Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2017 won a bet on Twitter that he could install one within 100 days. The Victorian Big Battery owned by French renewable energy giant  Neoen was the latest vying to be crowned the world’s largest. 

Neoen said no-one was injured. 

A fire at a lithium-ion battery installation in China in April killed two firemen and took hundreds of firemen to bring under control, reports said.  

In September 2020, a fire was reported at a lithium-ion battery plant owned by Danish energy company Orsted, in Liverpool, Britain. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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