Tesla and Neoen will resume testing of big battery in Australia after July fire

A Tesla Megapack in Moss Landing, California

Andrew Evers | CNBC

Renewable energy giant Neoen plans to switch its Tesla Megapacks back on at the Victorian Big Battery in Southeast Australia this week, after a fire in late July at the energy storage site.

Victoria’s safety regulator for electricity, gas and pipelines has granted Neoen and Tesla permission for “re-energisation testing of the Victorian Big Battery,” Neoen said in an emailed statement on Monday.

The Victorian Big Battery is owned and operated by Neoen and is one of the world’s largest energy storage systems. It’s intended to help avoid blackouts in the region and power homes using electricity from renewable power sources like solar and wind.

Neoen, which is based in Paris, developed the site with partners including Tesla Energy and AusNet with some construction by Cimic Group’s UGL. Tesla has not disclosed its suppliers for the project or what types of battery cells it used in the Megapacks, which are lithium ion battery-based storage systems.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fire at the battery site in Geelong, Victoria, took place on July 30. Two Tesla Megapacks erupted into flames at the 300 megawatt (450 megawatt hours) facility. No injuries were reported, but the fire triggered a toxic air alert to surrounding neighborhoods.

About 150 fire fighters from the Country Fire Authority and local Fire Rescue Victoria were called on to fight the fire, along with dozens of fire trucks and support vehicles and drones for monitoring temperatures of the two Tesla Megapacks effected. Flames did not spread to any of the other Megapacks among 210 or so that make up the system.

Elon Musk speaks at Hornsdale wind farms in Australia for an event for Tesla

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By Aug. 1, two days after the eruption, fire fighters stopped using water on site. The facility was declared under control on the afternoon of Aug 2.

The Country Fire Authority, WorkSafe Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria, and the Environment Protection Authority then required Neoen and Tesla to suspend some operations in Geelong so they could complete parallel investigations.

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