September 16, 2021: The world’s biggest battery, Vistra Corp’s Moss Landing 300MW/1200MWh batttery, suffered a major overheating incident on September 4, which resulted in sprinkler systems being deployed and firefighters called to the site.
“Vistra has begun its preliminary assessment of Phase I (300 megawatts) of its Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility following an overheating incident that impacted a limited number of battery modules and occurred on the evening of Sept. 4.” a company statement said.
“Teams from Vistra, battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution, engineering and construction firm Fluence, and other external experts are conducting their initial walkthroughs of the building in order to gather information and begin their investigation into the root cause of the issue.
“The North County Fire Protection District of Monterey County is assisting with the investigation.”
The lithium battery, which was made by LG Energy and installed in partnership with Fluence and Vistra, was switched on this January.
It was hailed as a flagship project and celebrated with much fanfare when it was completed with the addition of a further 100MW just a month ago, on August 19.
The added capacity brought the total storage capacity to 1600MWh.
“We share a goal of facilitating a nationwide transition to zero-emission energy and, as more intermittent renewables come online, battery projects like this play a vital role in building a more reliable grid,” said Claudia Morrow, Vistra’s SVP of development and strategy, at the time.
The battery was intended to strengthen the reliability of California’s grid, which suffers blackouts every year during the state’s wildfire season.
“With safety as its No. 1 priority, the company is taking a conservative approach and keeping the entire facility offline as it investigates the root cause of the incident in partnership with its engineering contractor, Fluence, and battery manufacturer, LG Energy Solution,” said a Vistra statement.
“Vistra is uncertain on the timing of the return of the facility, pending an investigation and any needed repairs.”
The additional 100MW/400MWh battery was not affected by the overheating, the company said, and as yet the cause of the problem was not clear.