New York’s Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group
Energy Storage and New York’s Climate Goals
Energy storage facilities play a critical role in the state’s efforts to reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious climate goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) , which codified 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025 and 3,000 MW by 2030.
As New York State transitions to renewable energy technologies like wind and solar, energy storage will play a critical role by providing power when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining. Energy storage will increase the resilience and efficiency of New York’s electric grid and can stabilize the supply of energy during peak electric usage and help keep critical systems like those found in hospitals online during an outage.
Energy storage systems offer the following benefits to New Yorkers:
- Integrate with wind and solar to enable our transition to a fully decarbonized electric system
- Deliver electricity to meet the demand of customers and increase grid reliability
- Serve as a back-up energy source
- Supply energy to a home, to a business, to a community, or to the electric grid
- Provide economic and environmental benefits
Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group
On July 28, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the creation of an Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group to ensure the safety and security of energy storage systems across the state, following fire incidents at facilities in Jefferson, Orange, and Suffolk Counties and directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Public Service (DPS), and the Department of State (DOS) to lead the Working Group to independently examine energy storage facility fires and safety standards.
The Working Group will gather information from incidents and advice from experts to help prevent fires and ensure emergency responders have the necessary training and information to prepare and deploy resources in the event of a fire.
Additionally, the Working Group has been collaborating with national labs and other nation-leading subject matter experts to review all existing codes and testing procedures pertinent to the development and electrification of battery energy storage systems.
The primary focus areas of the working group include:
- Conduct an Incident Analysis for East Hampton, Warwick, and Chaumont incidents inclusive of:
- a. Examining testing for contaminants and report out a summary of findings (complete, December 2023)
- b. Reviewing emergency response actions and data (in progress)
- c. Accessing and examining Root Cause Analysis (in progress)
- d. Compile all preliminary Working Group findings, data, and other relevant materials and send to National Labs to review (in progress)
- Conduct a full review of today’s Codes, Standards, and Regulations and provide a summary of recommendations. (draft complete, January 2024)
- Conduct field assessments of in-service commercial energy storage projects and revise NYSERDA inspection checklist with lessons learned. (in progress)
- Create a final report that summarizes all the findings and recommendations of the Working Group. The findings and resulting recommendations will establish New York as a national and international leader in fire safety and stationary energy storage systems. (in progress)
Draft Fire Code Recommendations Report
NYSERDA is requesting public comment [PDF] from subject matter experts and interested stakeholders to evaluate and provide feedback on a draft Fire Code Recommendations Report [doc] produced by the Working Group.
The draft recommendations were also discussed at a public webinar on February 15, 2024. View the webinar recording to learn more about the working group’s recommendations and process for providing feedback.
Specifically, feedback is requested to assist the Working Group in identifying gaps in current codes and best practices, as well as promulgating recommendations to revise and strengthen the Fire Code of NYS (Fire Code) as contained within the NYS Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code). Respondents are not required to provide feedback on each section of the draft Report, but instead should focus on specific recommendations, topic areas, or questions relevant to their field of expertise.
To submit feedback, please review the Request for Public Comment [PDF] and then email a completed BESS Code Recommendations Respondent Form [PDF] to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Response: BESS Code Recommendations Request’ by no later than 3:00pm ET on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
Any questions regarding this request for public comment should be directed in writing to [email protected].
Press Releases to Date:
- July 28, 2023: Governor Hochul Convenes Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group Following Fires in Jefferson, Orange, & Suffolk Counties
- December 21, 2023: Initial Findings Released From Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group On Emergency Response
- February 6, 2024: Governor Hochul Releases Initial Recommendations From Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group
Other Energy Storage and Safety Resources:
- Energy Storage Program: Learn about the different types of energy storage and how integrating storage in the electric grid will allow clean energy to be available when and where it is most needed.
- Energy Storage Innovation: Research and investment are driving innovation in energy storage technology and product development.
- Guidebooks, Resources, and Training for Local Governments: Access information, tools, and step-by-step instructions to support local governments managing battery energy storage system development in their communities.
- Lithium-Ion Battery Awareness Training : OFPC has made a course available on the DHSES E-Learning Management System for all first responders.