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US energy storage systems get safety boost with new ACP guidelines

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) has introduced a major policy initiative aimed at promoting top-tier safety measures for energy storage technology systems. This initiative includes a set of policy recommendations for local and state governments to adopt and implement these safety standards.

ACP has released a model ordinance framework that offers comprehensive guidance for state and local governments in developing siting and permitting rules for utility-scale battery energy storage systems. This framework supports the adoption of the latest safety standards and incorporates the guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) safety standard for energy storage, NFPA 855.

Designed to guide thousands of counties and municipalities across the nation, the model ordinance includes policy language for state and local governments to adopt concerning:

  • Permitting Procedures
  • Siting Standards
  • Land Use & Zoning
  • Safety & Equipment Certifications
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Decommissioning

The framework’s recommendations are based on national fire safety standards such as NFPA 855 and UL 9540, guidance from national energy laboratories, and existing state and local regulations.

This announcement coincides with the inaugural ACP RECHARGE: Energy Storage Summit, where industry leaders are meeting to discuss and advance various priorities.

The ACP reiterated the industry's commitment to collaborate closely with fire officials throughout the development and operational phases of energy storage projects. This includes regular communication, training, and site visits to ensure safety and coordination.

Main voices

Frank Macchiarola, Chief Policy Officer of ACP, noted that the energy storage industry has always prioritized safety and reliability. He highlighted that the new efforts represent the most comprehensive initiatives to date in promoting national safety standards and developing effective regulations for battery energy storage systems. He emphasized that these resources are crucial for communities to benefit from the technology’s ability to enhance grid reliability and reduce energy costs.

Stephanie Smith, COO of Eolian, pointed out that utility-scale storage is essential for a sustainable and resilient energy transition. She emphasized the industry's commitment to integrating battery energy storage systems with a focus on safety and praised ACP's model ordinance as a proactive measure to help communities safely adopt these energy resources.

Bobby Ruiz, Project Director for Hiller Company and former Fire Chief of Peoria, Arizona, recommended the adoption of NFPA 855, describing it as a best-in-class standard. He noted that the standard had been thoroughly vetted by various stakeholders, including fire officials and engineers, and commended ACP's model ordinance for reflecting these rigorous safety efforts.


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