Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

Toxic smoke from fire forces Australian residents indoors just two days after COVID lockdown lifted


Tesla's battery technology is extremely hot in Australia right now – but not in a good way. A 300-megawatt lithium-ion battery built in the state of Victoria using Tesla tech is literally on fire.

The "Victorian Big Battery" – an installation due to come online later this year – was commissioned by authorities "to boost the state's energy reliability, drive down electricity prices and support Victoria's transition to renewable energy – as well as creating local jobs as we take steps towards a COVID normal."

The battery is currently succeeding on the jobs front: The Register understands that over 20 fire brigade units have scrambled to extinguish the blaze.

Fire and Rescue Victoria stated the fire is burning in just one shipping container and that emergency crews are "working to contain the fire and stop it spreading to nearby batteries".

The blaze has sparked an air quality warning that suggests residents of nearby suburbs should move indoors, close doors and windows, and even turn off heating and cooling systems that suck air from outside homes or offices. The stay-at-home warnings came just after a COVID-19 lockdown ended in Victoria.

While the battery uses Tesla hardware, French renewable energy outfit Neoen is responsible for its construction, ongoing operation and maintenance.

Three weeks ago, Neoen touted the swift progress of the construction project.

Victoria's government commissioned the battery to create storage capacity that would offset the closure of coal-fired electricity plants. The battery was due to come online ahead of the southern summer.

The Register has approached Tesla and Neoen for comment on the cause of the fire. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading
  • Cloud security unicorn cuts 20% of staff after raising $1.3b
    Time to play blame bingo: Markets? Profits? Too much growth? Russia? Space aliens?

    Cloud security company Lacework has laid off 20 percent of its employees, just months after two record-breaking funding rounds pushed its valuation to $8.3 billion.

    A spokesperson wouldn't confirm the total number of employees affected, though told The Register that the "widely speculated number on Twitter is a significant overestimate."

    The company, as of March, counted more than 1,000 employees, which would push the jobs lost above 200. And the widely reported number on Twitter is about 300 employees. The biz, based in Silicon Valley, was founded in 2015.

    Continue reading
  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022