Tesla Megapack catches fire at Australian battery site

By Laura Berrill
The fire broke out within a Tesla Megapack at one of the largest batteries in the world in Victoria state - cause is not yet known

Paris-based renewable energy giant Neoen worked with Tesla and AusNet Services to develop the grid-scale project with the aim of helping the state of Victoria meet a renewable energy target of 50% by 2030.

According to updates shared by Neoen Australia on social media, the battery was only recently registered with the Australian Energy Market Operator and the fire happened during testing. A spokesperson for AEMO, the electricity market operator, said the site has been isolated from the electricity grid and the incident has not impacted the area’s electricity supply.

A continuous supply of energy

Gigantic batteries like those offered by Tesla, ABB and newcomers like Northvolt, can help grid operators move extra capacity between states. This ensures that power from intermittent, renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, can be stored and used as and when needed.

Projects like Neoen’s Victorian Big Battery, and systems like Tesla Megapacks within it, can also ensure power is available even when there are unplanned outages in a transmission network.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has very recently talked up his company’s growing energy storage business, claiming there is demand for more than 1 million of Tesla’s home Powerwall batteries, and “a vast amount” of Megapacks for utilities. Tesla energy generation and storage revenue during the second quarter of 2021 reached $801 million, with the cost of revenue for this division hitting $781 million.

No injuries but smoke warnings

Louis de Sambucy, the managing director of Neoen Australia, said that the fire occurred “within one of the Tesla Megapacks at the Victorian Big Battery” during initial testing of the system on Friday, July 30th. There were no injuries and the site was evacuated.

Sambucy added: “Neoen and Tesla are working closely with emergency services on site to manage the situation. The site has been disconnected from the grid and there will be no impact to the electricity supply.”

Neoen also said it would provide updates when new information was available. So far, Tesla and AusNet have not responded immediately to any requests for comment.

Australia’s Financial Review reported that the fire triggered a toxic smoke warning, and authorities instructed residents in nearby suburbs to close their doors and windows and turn off heating and cooling systems.



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