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| 1 minute read

Battery Storage Project Developers Navigate Changing Regulations and Safety Approvals

California leads in the adoption of battery energy storage systems (BESS), and has already surpassed over 5,000MW of grid-scale projects in the CAISO service area, and the rapid expansion of battery storage projects has triggered heightened review of safety measures, particularly regarding fire safety. California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 38 (SB 38) into law, requiring battery storage facilities in the state to implement safety and communication protocols. The legislation mandates the development of emergency response and plans in addition to existing maintenance and operational standards set by the California Public Utilities Commission. Introduced by Senator John Laird in December, the bill aims to ensure the safety of workers and communities amid the state's increasing deployment of BESS to balance the grid, integrate renewable energy, and enhance reliability. 

Local fire authority approval is becoming increasingly required for the approval of BESS projects and shifting from what was viewed as a non-discretionary and ministerial approval process to a discretionary review and approval. Project developers are collaborating closely with local fire departments and conducting specialized training programs to educate firefighters about the intricacies of battery storage projects. This shift underscores the industry's growing commitment to ensuring the highest safety standards for BESS endeavors.

an increase in battery storage “is essential to reaching our clean energy goals, but we also have to ensure that these facilities have safety systems in place to ensure the safety of workers and surrounding communities”


us real estate, battery storage, battery energy storage systems, bess, california