September 9, 2019

Operational Risk Management in the U.S. Energy Storage Industry

Tom Simchak

The energy storage industry is now an established sector of the U.S. energy market, with 40 gigawatts of contracted pipeline. With the continued growth of the energy storage industry, it is reasonable to anticipate and plan for the potential of operational safety risks.

Energy storage providers and the U.S. Energy Storage Association have worked with safety and standards practitioners for years to develop a holistic and comprehensive body of codes, standards, and best practices to minimize the risk of fires and thermal events and manage any occurrences. Standards and best practices continue to evolve, and ongoing attention to risk management will result in safe and reliable energy storage system installations across the U.S.

This white paper—Operational Risk Management in the U.S. Energy Storage Industry: Lithium-Ion Fire and Thermal Event Safety—describes how fire and thermal event risk prevention and management is currently being addressed in the storage industry, with a focus on lithium-ion batteries due to the batteries’ current market dominance in new deployments. The paper outlines the types of operational risks in energy storage applications, the history of the industry’s attention to fire and thermal event prevention, current codes and standards governing battery storage systems, and additional best practices.

The release of this paper is concurrent with the ongoing activities of ESA’s Energy Storage Corporate Responsibility Initiative, a cross-industry collaborative effort in which participating companies from throughout the energy storage value chain commit to standards and specific practices that will optimize performance and minimize risk in the manufacturing, implementation and operation of energy storage projects across the United States. The Initiative is in the process of developing consensus best-practice guidance in several areas, including multi-hazard risk mitigation and emergency response.

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