Renewables Battery ‘Boom’: Exploding Mega-Storage System Generates Fireball & Toxic Lithium Plume in Belgium

As soon as ‘Joe Public’ worked out that the idea of running on sunshine and breezes was so much childish nonsense, renewables rent-seekers started peddling an even greater myth: that mega-batteries would store ‘free and abundant’ wind and solar power, whenever the sun was up and the wind was blowing (just right).

Then, the myth continues, at absolutely zero cost to power consumers, giant grid-scale batteries would lovingly release groovy ‘green’ power as and when businesses and households needed it.

The zealot’s argument runs that – if only fossil fuel junkies and evil climate deniers would get out of the way – a few million mega-batteries would allow power consumers, hungry for ‘green’ virtue, to finally plug in and turn on to the ‘fuels of the future’.

So much for the hype.

South Australia, Australia’s wind power capital, has signed up to squander $150 million on one of Elon Musk’s creations, that would power the state for all of 4 minutes when the wind stops blowing and/or the sun goes down.

Weatherill’s wonder has been nicknamed the ‘NeverReady’ battery by wits in SA, because, despite being trumpeted for months as SA’s saviour, it is unlikely to be operable this Summer. Which, for reasons revealed below, may be seen as no bad thing by the residents of Jamestown, where Musk’s Marvel is under construction.

Meanwhile, over the border in Victoria, a long-touted plan for mega-batteries in that State has just run out of juice.

Instead of running on wind and sunshine – having killed the 1,600 MW baseload plant, Hazelwood earlier this year – Victorians (like their South Australian cousins) are going to be running on diesel powered generators. Oh, the irony.

Victorian energy storage plan misses summer deadline
The Austarlian
Pia Ackerman
15 November 2017

Plans for two large-scale batteries to help secure Victoria’s power supplies this summer are in disarray, with a $25 million proposal by the Andrews government still in the planning stage months after construction was due to start.

Touted as a “game-changer” by Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio when she and Premier Daniel ­Andrews announced the investment in March, no successful bidder has been announced for the storage initiative.

The project, which is meant to deliver two 20-megawatt batteries with combined capacity of at least 100MWh, was due to start construction in August so it would be ready for peak demand in January.

The state will now rely on diesel generators pumping up to 100MW of power into the grid to guard against blackouts during heatwaves. It is understood the government is still assessing the bids to provide the batteries, but a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio yesterday declined to answer questions about the delay and whether the battery plan would proceed.

“We’re making sure Victoria is equipped with the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system,” the spokesman said.

The batteries were to be installed in western Victoria, and each would be capable of powering a town such as Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period.

Opposition energy spokesman David Southwick said the Andrews government was “delivering a third-world energy policy” and changing its policy on the run.

“These are desperate policy ­announcements by a government who simply can’t figure out how to solve the problem they created in closing down Hazelwood and taking 22 per cent of energy out of the market,” he said.

Experts have previously questioned the business case for large-scale storage in Victoria and whether $25m would be sufficient to pay for it. The government has claimed energy storage will play a “vital” role in integrating renewable energy into the network and improving grid reliability.

“This initiative will highlight Victoria’s position as a leader in managing the transition to a secure and modern energy system through deployment of new energy technologies,” the state’s Environment Department said in an information packet for potential bidders.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the batteries would play an important role in keeping the power grid stable and secure if installed. “In combination with new pumped-hydro and existing hydro, batteries will give us more flexibility to address peak demand for energy and deliver a cleaner and more ­affordable energy system,” he said.

AGL Energy has flagged plans to build a 250MW battery — which would be the world’s biggest battery and more than twice the size of the 100MW plant being built by Tesla in South Australia — at the site of the Liddell black- coal power station.

The federal government last month unveiled the National Energy Guarantee, which attempts to align climate and energy policy by obliging retailers to buy certain amounts of energy from ready-to-use power such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries, and from renewable sources such as wind and solar to lower emissions.
The Australian

The biggest battery in the World sits in Southern California, put there by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) at Escondido, with the help of $millions in taxpayer subsidies: a piddling 30MW battery system said to be capable of storing 120MWh, and ‘serving’ 20,000 customers for 4 hours.

Elon Musk has used a mountain of other peoples’ money to build a similar 20MW, 80MWh battery, in conjunction with Southern California Edison, based in Ontario, California.

In reality, the most impressive thing about these storage systems is their staggering cost, set against their minuscule capacity. Adding in the cost of a few minutes of battery storage to wind power takes the cost of wind power alone from $92 per MWh to between $304 and $727 per MWh.

As noted above, subsidy-seekers see batteries as their way out of trouble.

So, true to form, the Clean Energy Council’s spin-master-in-chief, Kane Thornton reckons that ‘batteries would play an important role in keeping the power grid stable and secure if installed’.

Kane really should get out more. There’s nothing ‘stable and secure’ about lithium batteries.

As Samsung mobile phone owners are painfully aware, lithium batteries have a horrifying habit of spontaneous ignition. Anyone who’s been on an airplane in the last 12 or 18 months has, no doubt, enjoyed watching their fellow passengers being berated for having a Samsung 7 in their pocket.

And there have been plenty of incidents where the lithium batteries in Tesla’s electric cars have suddenly exploded in flames.

 

Renewables zealots, like Kane Thornton, have convinced themselves that batteries can store and release huge amounts of wonderful ‘green’ energy.

There is, however, another name for devices that store and suddenly release monumental amounts of energy, and STT is happy to spell it out, they’re called: B-O-M-B-S.

Here’s a story about one of these so-called storage devices determining to release a whole bunch of ‘green’ energy, in a furious hurry.

Wind power backup and storage batteries explode into flames and send a toxic cloud over the city of Brussels
Wind Watch
Marc Deroover
12 November 2017

A wind power storage battery has exploded into flames at a power station located near the city of Brussels. The fire resulted in a cloud of toxic fumes that flew over the city and forced thousands of people to stay at home.

The battery was part of the first real live testing of power batteries being used to store wind power in Belgium. After less than one month, the test miserably failed with the battery being destroyed by fire and residents hiding in their houses to escape the polluted cloud. Here is the story.

On Saturday the 11th of November 2017, around noon, people in some western areas of the city of Brussels (Belgium) could smell a strong and irritating odour that some described as being similar to the smell of “burning plastic”.

A little later, the population was informed of a fire going on in the Electrabel-Engie power plant located at Drogenbos. Electrabel-Engie is the main electricity producer in Belgium, and operates a gas turbine power plant in Drogenbos, a village located at the western limit of the city of Brussels – where the wind came from at the time of the accident.

An official alert was broadcast by the Belgian authorities:

Which translates to “Fire in the ENGIEelectrabel plant at Drogenbos. Toxic smell. Alert activated. Follow recommendations: as a precaution close doors and windows”

And the news outlets were covered with pictures like this one:

Still a bit later, some local newspapers explained that “a container-size lithium battery has blown up in flames. The fire has produced a cloud of potentially toxic smoke”. The message circulating on the social networks was that “a cloud full of toxic lithium was blowing over the city”.

 

It took several hours for firemen to control the fire. The alert was lifted around 4pm local time. No injuries were reported, although some people did complain of respiratory irritation.

At that time the population was informed that “Measures of air pollution were normal and they were no more risks for health or the environment”. However they didn’t say what were the pollutants found in previous measurements and in what quantities they were present in the air.

So what went wrong? You can find part of the answer on the Belgian Engie web site (http://www.engie.be/en/drogenbos-to-store-renewable-energy-on-a-large-scale/) in an article written in English and dated July 10, 2017.

Under the title “Drogenbos to store renewable energy on a large scale”, the article explains that:

Conventional power stations consistently ensure adjustable, predictable power generation. If they are replaced (as will increasingly be the case) by less predictable solar and wind energy, a solution will have to be found to continue guaranteeing a steady supply of electricity and safeguard grid stability. For the grid requires a constant balance between power generation and consumption. So what’s the solution? Master the large-scale storage of electricity …

Several containers containing batteries, transformers, converters and computers have been installed at ENGIE’s Energy Storage Park. The aim is to conduct trials on storing 20 MWh of renewable energy …

This will the first time that large batteries have been tested in Belgium. ENGIE’s Energy Storage Park will simultaneously serve as both a test bed and a laboratory. ENGIE will start by testing lithium batteries with a maximum capacity of 6 MW, produced by four different manufacturers, exposing them all to the same conditions …

Starting in October 2017, the facilities at ENGIE’s Energy Storage Park should be able to draw electricity from the grid when too much power is being generated, store it in the batteries and then reinject it into the system when needed.

So, apparently, they did indeed start up full-scale testing of their carefully selected batteries.

But it took less than one month for the first of them to blow up in flames and force tens of thousands of inhabitants to stay hidden indoors to avoid the toxic cloud that resulted from this experiment.

One of the mainstream newspapers has reported a press release of the Electrabel-Engie group saying that the “battery that has burned was not in operation at the time the fire broke out”. Let’s hope that at least this one is fake news, otherwise it would mean that these batteries are just chemical bombs ready to explode at any time.

If the dream of wind proponents is to materialize, our landscapes will be scattered with such container-size batteries. In the light of what occurred this weekend in Drogenbos, authorities everywhere should take note and impose on the industry safety measures to protect the public and avoid the possibility of another such accident.

Not a single article in the local media mentioned the link between the battery that has polluted the city of Brussels and wind power backup and storage requirements.

For the uninformed reader, the message was that “the villain Electrabel that operates nuclear power plants has once again polluted the environment”. But this accident was really due to the presence of wind turbines in the power production system.

We should see it as chemical pollution directly related to supposedly ‘clean’ wind power.
Wind Watch

Welcome to your exciting wind, sun and battery ‘powered’ future!

California’s Bomb-Maker-in-Chief & Firey Little Friend.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Its interesting that it seems to be OK to distribute these batteries in the countryside co located with wind turbines, in one of the most bushfire prone countries on Earth. I wonder how the local CFA and whatever the SA equivalent is, are placed to handle a large scale lithium fire? Nothing like an exploding self sustaining source to keep things ticking along.

    The risk management review would make interesting reading.

  2. Part-time unreliables and exploding battery bombs all at huge and unnecessary costs. Welcome to the energy future.

  3. david mortimer says:

    Just what we really need.
    Another Weapon of Mass Destruction added to the world’s arsenal – The Elon Bomb!!

  4. Daniel Andrews and Jay Weatherill are both hell-bent on destroying the affordability and reliability of the electricity supply systems in their respective states.  It seems both of these ideological zealots is happy to waste endless ship loads of taxpayers money on the latest ultra-expensive battery boondoggles on offer from the snake-oil salesmen of the renewables cult. 

    But do these two want to be seen as "living on the edge" risk takers like Richard Hammond of "Top Gear" fame?  As more and more of these battery BOMBS go off, lets hope the power punters of Victoria and South Australia wake up to the fact they’re being taken for a vary expensive ride by these two.

  5. Jackie Rovensky says:

    This despicable industry came to prominence from what they would have people believe are purely altruistic reasons. Governments around the world were led by the UN to promote ‘Renewables’ without explicitly detailing what they meant, but used carefully chosen indicators that wind and
    solar would be welcomed, with all this couched in the ‘noble’ message – that energy production needed to be curtailed and this would save the world from immanent disaster, a disaster that was solely man made.
    Governments around the world swallowed this message without ever considering ramifications and whether the industry they chose to do this was far from self-less and could be more selfishly wanting to make money at any cost to the environment or economies of country’s who tagged along with the industry’s very cleverly orchestrated hard-sell.
    What is the result, nations falling over themselves trying to work out how to turn things around, all the while falling deeper and deeper into the debt of this industry which is now in partnership with toxic battery producers, the wind industry has now fallen into step with the battery producers and now we have two (2) industries puling the strings of Nations around the world, we also have two (2) industries both vying for our dollars and getting them.
    The result, environments damaged, lives destroyed and livelihoods hanging in the balance, along with a future that decidedly looks bleak – unless Governments stop listening to the UN which is obviously fully ‘in-bed’ with both these industries. We need our elected Governments to start seeing beyond the fear mongering of the industry and its promoters, we need Governments to start ensuring secure energy supply means just that, not some patch job that only feeds the pockets of the two (2) industries which are now in Cahoots to ensure their combined pockets continue to fill to overflowing – at our expense.
    What we also need is a world wide ICAC system whereby the truth of this disaster can be searched out from every dark corner and laid before us for all to see.
    However this will never happen so we need to focus on our own Governments and continue to present to them the truth and ensure our votes count. We also need to have a system devised by which we the public can hold Politicians to account at anytime and not just during election periods the timing of which is controlled by Politicians themselves, fixed term Governments need to be abolished and any politician who is found to lie to the public needs to be removed immediately.
    The UN needs to be cleaned out and any of the multitude of committee members who are found to be or even suspected of complicity with industries or National Governments to be removed and charged if appropriate.
    Until this happens – which will probably be never – we need to keep working to silence or bring to the public eye the failings of those who promote both the wind and its now partner the ‘big battery’ industry.
    We need to continue to speak out when we hear people,no matter their professional standing, who support these industries, industries that are damaging not only our own nations but many others, those who are ready to damage professional and personal reputations to shore up their own puerile needs.
    We need to support the Researchers and commentators who are working to bring the truth to the for who are having their capabilities and reputations attacked just because they are doing a job that endangers the continued advance of this so called ‘renewable’ industry which is increasing needing to rely on unsafe battery’s to attempt but failing to do the job they cannot do, which is to supply a modern society with what it needs – supply of continuous reliable energy to everyone who desires it at an affordable price.
    SPEAK OUT – STAND UP and be heard – DONT LET THEM FEEL SAFE, THEY DON’T CARE IF YOUR SAFE OR SUFFERING.

  6. Does Australia have a RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act? Check out this story on a RICO lawsuit in the U.S.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/06/rico-lawsuit-against-climate-action-network-canintl-moves-forward/

  7. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “CLEAN GREEN” energy update…

  8. Crispin Trist says:

    I am starting to think that there may well be a legal case for sueing the renewables industry for false and misleading advertising. They have distracted governments with this false promise of reliable pollution free electricity for the last 10 years. And they still haven’t managed to get it working properly. That’s 10 years that have been wasted through these diversionary tactics.

    Is climate change a threat or isn’t it?

    Indeed, should the public in turn sue governments for wasting time tackling climate change? I raise this question because it is the government who are threatening ‘us’ with climate change. And yet they seem to be making such a dog’s dinner out of it by stuffing up a once reliable electricity grid through the rollout of unreliable and intermittent (born again) renewable energy.

    As for renewables. So much for consumer law. Wind power? You must be joking. Yeh wind power if the wind is blowing just right. Not too fast, not too slow, with an actual power generation of approximately 30-40% of installed capacity. Ask yourself. Would you buy a Rolls Royce if it only started 30-40% of the time, or only did 70mph down hill with a tail wind. Oh you’ll need a battery and a gust of wind to get you back to the top of the hill again. Either that or a jump start!

    I don’t think so.

    If we had started building new nuclear power stations 10 years ago, we would now be starting to see a drastic reduction in fossil fuel emissions. But instead we are left watching the renewables industry run around desperately trying to patch up a dangerous situation of their own making. Why are governments giving this industry the luxury of so much time to stuff around? By the time governments wake up to this performing circus, it will be another 10 years at least until we see a drastic reduction in fossil fuel emissions through the use of a new fleet of next generation nuclear power stations, the very ones that we should have been building in the first place!

    The only positive to come out of this is that nuclear power technology has been gradually improving over the last 10 years.

    In the meantime build HELE. Only then can we start to shut down the old facilities RESPONSIBLY.

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