Energy Storage

Moss Landing Battery Project Offline After Overheating

The first phase of the battery storage project at the Moss Landing complex in California was taken offline after an overheating issue caused some parts of the installation to be damaged.

Vistra said the incident happened late on Sept. 4. Fire crews responded to the site, and though no fire was found, officials said battery racks had been “scorched” and wires “melted.” No injuries were reported.

Vistra in a statement confirmed the overheating issue and said “these modules were operating at a temperature above operational standards and triggering targeted sprinkler systems aimed at the affected modules.” It said North Monterey County Fire crews were monitoring the site. 

The incident occurred in the battery facility operating as Phase I of the project, a 300-MW/1,200-MWh system. Vistra had energized the second phase of the Moss Landing project in August. The company said Phase II, in a separate building at the site, was not affected and is available for operation. 

Vistra in its statement said that the risk mitigation and safety systems at the site “worked as designed,” and detected that the modules were operating at a temperature higher than operational standards. Vistra said a sprinkler system at the facility also operated as designed. The company said it is investigating the cause of the overheating with LG Energy Solution, the battery manufacturer, and also with Fluence, the project’s engineering contractor. No timeline was given for a restart of the facility. “With safety as its No. 1 priority, the company is taking a conservative approach and keeping the entire facility offline as it investigates the root cause of the incident,” Vistra said in its statement. 

Moss Landing with both phases of the project operating has total capacity of 400 MW/1,600 MWh. The first phase of the project was brought online in December 2020, immediately becoming the largest such installation in the world, topping another California project. The Phase II expansion project was announced in early 2020, and took 11 months to complete. The project at present features 4,500 LG Energy Solution, lithium-ion-based TR1300 batteries. 

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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