Carver: Experts say proposed 150 MW battery facility poses fire, explosion, toxic gas risk; Carver not prepared
Cranberry Point – Power Plus facility requires state Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) approval. Read more here.
Save the Pine Barrens intervenes at EFSB, submits testimony on fire safety, air toxics
EFSB decision expected in June 2023. Filings here: Docket No. 21-02
September 29, 2022: Save the Pine Barrens filed expert testimony on toxic air emissions and fire and safety risks, urges EFSB to deny Cranberry Point permit.
Air expert: Cranberry Point’s application is defective, doesn’t identify specific air pollutants that could travel to school, residential area
STPB’s air pollution expert, John Hinkley, submitted his testimony to the EFSB about the toxic air emissions from a potential emergency thermal runaway event at Cranberry Point. Read the full testimony here. Here is his conclusion:
“First, Cranberry Point has acknowledged that air pollutants would be released if a thermal runaway event were to occur at the Facility. However, Cranberry Point has not provided sufficient information (e.g., data, analysis of data) to thoroughly understand the extent of inhalation risk in the areas surrounding the Facility. In particular, I could not determine from Cranberry Point’s submissions all the specific pollutants that may be released, the emissions rates for those pollutants, and the extent to which those pollutants could travel offsite and into surrounding areas that include residential populations, cranberry bogs, and at least one school during a thermal runaway event.
Second, any significant thermal runaway event will likely result in the release of air pollutants that have been classified by U.S. EPA and/or MassDEP as impactful to human health. Therefore, given the meteorological data that was evaluated, a thermal runaway event would bring with it the potential that emissions that are known to impact human health may travel offsite.
Third, there is reason to be concerned with the lack of data and analysis provided by Cranberry point about air pollutants released during a potential thermal runaway event. Based both on recent historical events and Cranberry Point’s own submissions that: (1) the risk of a thermal runaway event is not zero; a thermal runaway event brings with it the risk of a fire and the release of air pollutants; (3) such an event could release air pollutants at levels that workers and emergency responders at the Facility would need to wear SCBA equipment, and (4) the safety distance of 650 feet could not be verified. I believe the Siting Board should be aware of and should consider this lack of information during its decision-making process in this proceeding.” Testimony of expert, John Hinckley, 9/29/2022
Fire expert: Cranberry Point poses risk of electric shock, fire, explosion and off-gassing of toxic pollutants; emergency response plan does not meet National Fire Prevention Association standards
STPB’s fire safety expert, Milosh T. Puchovsky, Professor of Practice in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, submitted his testimony to the EFSB to give his “analysis and expert opinions concerning certain matters related to the safety and potential for future emergency incidents” at Cranberry Point and “related to emergency planning for such incidents. Read the full testimony here. Professor Puchovsky identifies the risks and hazards of Cranberry Point and the “deficiencies in emergency response planning to address and mitigate hazards.” Some highlights:
“Fire and explosion hazards differ during emergency or abnormal conditions due to the overheating and venting of flammable gases from battery cells. If that venting occurs near an overheated component—which serves as an ignition source—or another form of ignition source, then there is the risk of a fire or explosion. A fire or explosion may occur if concentrations of flammable gases—for example, hydrogen—are sufficient to create combustible or flammable mixtures in the presence of those overheated BESS components or other ignition sources. These hazards are not just theoretical. I am aware of a number of BESS installations that have experienced incidents involving fires and explosions.
Cranberry Point’s Draft ERP [emergency response plan] and Other Submissions Do Not Satisfy NFPA 855 Requirements And Are Otherwise Inadequate to Address and Mitigate the Facility’s Potential Risks and Hazards.
Cranberry Point’s ERP and Related Submissions Are Insufficient to Show that Cranberry Point Has Engaged in Sufficient Emergency Management and Other Planning for this Facility.“