ESA Corporate Responsibility Initiative: U.S. Energy Storage Operational Safety Guidelines

The safe operation of energy storage applications requires comprehensive assessment and planning for a wide range of potential operational hazards, as well as the coordinated operational hazard mitigation efforts of all stakeholders in the lifecycle of a system from equipment design through decommissioning.  Although the growth of the energy storage market has been more rapid in recent years, the industry can draw on earlier U.S. and international experience; code, standard, regulatory, and research bodies; and first responders to produce these Guidelines on hazard mitigation.

This guide is a product of the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) Corporate Responsibility Initiative (CRI). In 2018, the ESA began coordination of the CRI, which launched in April 2019 with numerous industry leaders signing a pledge “to engage in a good-faith effort to optimize performance, minimize risk and serve as an exemplary corporate citizen in the manufacturing, deployment, implementation, and operation of energy storage projects across the United States.” As of publication, 57 companies and organizations are signatories to the pledge.

The purpose of these Guidelines is to: (1) guide users to current codes and standards that support the safe design and planning, operations, and decommissioning of grid-connected energy storage systems, and (2) present many primary recommendations which can be used in hazard reduction and mitigation.  It is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of guidelines for all operational hazards that could arise. ESA also published a more detailed white paper in September 2019 addressing one subset of hazards, Operational Hazard and Risk Management: Lithium-Ion and Thermal Events. Another related ESA CRI product is a template Emergency Response Plan written for energy storage site owners and operators to use in developing their own emergency response plans that suit site and application specifics and hazards. None of these documents fully address cybersecurity or hazards which may be encountered during decommissioning; these will require their own white papers and guidelines.

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