U.S. battery storage capacity to reach over 30 GW by 2024, says U.S. Energy Information Administration

July 5, 2024

U.S. battery storage growth and safety concerns

Battery storage capacity in the United States is projected to double by the end of 2024, reaching over 30 GW, as reported by PV Magazine.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration attributes this growth to developers expanding the use of lithium-ion technology, which is predominant in the industry.

However, with the increase in installations, concerns about fire safety have also risen.

John Zahurancik, president, Americas, of battery-maker Fluence Energy, emphasized the inevitability of equipment failures given the large installed base.

Zahurancik told PV Magazine: “Failures are going to happen with any equipment that has a significant installed base.

“The trick is to understand how and why failures happen and to make sure everybody affected knows what they are dealing with when they do.”

Industry efforts to enhance safety

The energy storage industry is actively collaborating with standards organizations, first responders, and professional associations to improve the safety and reliability of lithium-ion grid batteries.

Zahurancik highlighted the need for intelligence from suppliers to ensure that battery grid storage systems remain safe and effective throughout their lifespan.

He noted: “There’s definitely design elements to managing safety and thermal events.”

Fluence and other major suppliers are incorporating battery management systems into their projects.

However, Zahurancik pointed out that this is only the beginning.

He stressed the importance of emergency response plans, structuring projects as multiple smaller units to contain fires more easily, and training first responders at local fire departments.

Collaboration and training to prevent incidents

Zahurancik emphasized the necessity of seamless expertise sharing among suppliers, contractors, operators, and first responders to prevent thermal events from damaging public perceptions of lithium-ion battery safety.

He mentioned that Fluence has representatives in fire safety standard bodies, such as the NFPA 855 technical committee on energy storage installation.

The approach aims to ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed and prepared to handle any incidents effectively.

This collaborative effort is crucial in maintaining the industry’s growth while addressing safety concerns.

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