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Big Deal! So a few Telsa batteries erupt on fire and close down Calif's electric grid.

Listen, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Meaning that I'm ready for breakfast.

But seriously, folks, one word, "nuclear," enough said. Think about it.

California’s Tesla Battery Fire

A reminder that solar and wind power aren’t cost or risk free.

By The Editorial BoardFollow

Sept. 21, 2022 6:38 pm ET

As if California doesn’t have enough wildfire hazards, its drive to banish fossil fuels from the electric grid is creating another. On Tuesday a Tesla battery at a utility storage site in Monterey County caught fire, triggering the shutdown of the state’s scenic coastal highway and shelter-in-place warnings for local residents.

California utilities have been installing large-scale batteries to back up renewables and provide power when the sun goes down. But now we’re learning that batteries have their own reliability problems. It’s not clear how utility PG&E’s enormous 182.5 megawatt Tesla battery caught fire Tuesday, but the site had to be disconnected from the grid.

The PG&E facility is located adjacent to another 400 megawatt battery storage site, which has experienced two overheating incidents in the past year that forced part of the system to shut down. Lithium-ion battery fires are notoriously hard to extinguish because they burn at extremely high temperatures and produce dangerous fumes.

Hence Tuesday’s warning by Monterey County officials asking residents to “Please shut your windows and turn off your ventilation systems.” Fire drills may need to be modified for battery blazes that are becoming increasingly common and destructive.

Recall how a cargo ship transporting electric vehicles to the U.S. in February caught fire on the open seas. The 22-person crew had to be rescued, and hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise was lost. A fire last July at a Tesla battery storage site in Australia required three days and a hazmat firefighting team to put out.

Australians were lucky that the fire didn’t occur during their summer when it might have been even harder to control. Californians can likewise be grateful that Tuesday’s battery fire didn’t occur during the state’s heat wave two weeks ago when the state power supply was tight. PG&E filed for bankruptcy in 2019 amid tens of billions of dollars in liabilities for wildfires linked to its equipment, and now it has a new risk to worry about.

The larger point is that there is no free lunch in producing energy. All sources have costs and carry risks. The difference is that while climate lobbyists and the media fret about oil spills, gas leaks and nuclear meltdowns, they ignore the very real costs and risks of renewables.

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