Tesla battery fire at PG&E site shuts iconic California highway

Moss Landing Megapack. Credit: Tesla

PG&E Corp. said a Tesla Inc. battery at the utility’s massive Moss Landing energy storage site caught fire early Tuesday, with the blaze shutting down a nearby stretch of California’s famed Highway 1.

California’s largest utility said the fire involved a single Tesla Megapack, and it was working with firefighters to keep the blaze from spreading. The battery storage facility in Monterey County has been disconnected from the grid, and the incident has not triggered blackouts, PG&E said in an emailed statement. No injuries have been reported.

Utilities worldwide are installing large-scale batteries to stabilize power grids and store excess renewable energy from solar plants and wind farms. But such facilities have a history of fires. While the 182.5-megawatt Tesla installation at Moss Landing just entered service this year, an adjacent 400-megawatt battery facility owned by Vistra Corp. has suffered two overheating incidents since September last year, both forcing the temporary shutdown of part of the plant.

California has increasingly turned to batteries to help it avert blackouts, particularly during hot summer evenings when solar power plants stop generating. The state has enough grid-scale batteries to supply more than 3 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 2.3 million homes.

(By David R. Baker, with assistance from Mark Chediak)

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