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New York Governor Forms Working Group to Examine Energy Storage System Safety

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on July 28 announced the creation of a new Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group to ensure the safety and security of energy storage systems across the state, following fire incidents at facilities in the state this summer.

State agencies will begin immediate inspections of energy storage sites, and the Working Group will help prevent fires and ensure emergency responders have the necessary training and information to prepare and deploy resources in the event of a fire.

Saying that fires at energy storage facilities are exceedingly rare, Hochul’s office noted that she has directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Public Service and the Department of State to lead the Working Group. The Working Group will examine energy storage facility fires and safety standards.

The Working Group will investigate the recent energy storage fires in New York and will conduct a comprehensive fire safety review, including emergency response analysis, of energy storage projects that experienced thermal runaway events across New York. Findings will include a list of recommendations for stationary energy storage equipment and installations.

The Working Group will review energy storage system operations and operators as they examine the condition of their batteries to verify operation within design parameters, remedy any deficiencies identified, verify operation of on-site fire suppression and confirm fire suppression plans with local fire departments, among other best practices.

The findings and resulting recommendations will also be shared with the New York City Fire Department, National Fire Protection Association, International Code Council, the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council, and Underwriters Laboratories, which offers testing and certification services related to energy storage systems.

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