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Tesla's Giant Australian Battery Bursts Into Flames

The giant Tesla lithium-ion battery that French Neoen is building in the Australian province of Victoria is burning, according to the fire and rescue service of the province.

"A 13 tonne lithium battery in a shipping container is fully involved with crews wearing breathing apparatus working to contain the fire and stop it spreading to nearby batteries," Fire and Rescue Victoria reported earlier today, adding that there was no threat to local residents or drivers despite the release of smoke at the sight.

The battery installation, with a capacity of 300 MW/450 MWh, is due to be completed later this year and is expected to provide about half of the storage capacity Victoria needs to replace the Lorne power plant, which is due for retirement. The megabattery was also planned to reduce electricity bills for Victorians and increase grid reliability.

"By securing one of the biggest batteries in the world, Victoria is taking a decisive step away from coal-fired power and embracing new technologies that will unlock more renewable energy than ever before," Victoria environment minister Lily D'Ambrosio said last November when the project was made public.

Currently, firefighters are on site trying to contain the fire to the container where it first started, 7NEWS Melbourne reported. Other Australian media noted that the battery installation had been approved for partial operation earlier this month. The companies involved in the project—Tesla and French Neoen—have not responded to media requests for comment on the cause of the fire.

This is the second megabattery that Tesla is building in Australia.

The first one, in South Australia, has a capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh and, according to Tesla's Elon Musk, is able to supply some 30,000 households with power from a local wind farm and reduce the risk of blackouts. The installation, Musk said three years ago, would "manage summertime peak load to improve the reliability of South Australia's electrical infrastructure."

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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