Energy Storage Safety Inspection Guidelines

In 2016, a technical working group comprised of utility and industry representatives worked with the Safety & Enforcement Division's Risk Assessment and safety Advisory (RASA) section to develop a set of guidelines for documentation and safe practices at Energy Storage Systems (ESS) co-located at electric utility substations, power plants or other facilities.  In D. 17-04-039 (FoF #24), the CPUC affirmed that implementation of these guidelines does not require changes to established General Orders for substations (GO 174) or generation safety and reliability (GO 167).

The guidelines, which include a Safety Plan comprising specified elements and documentation, should be considered a "work in progress" subject to revision as more experience is gained in the operation of ESS, evolution of battery and other ESS technologies, and deeper penetration of ESS into the electric grid.

(link to PDF document)

SED Safety Inspection Checklist

Santa Clara County, California, has developed a relatively advanced set of best practices for installation of energy storage technology as well as templates for signage. Please follow these links to access Santa Clara’s strong work:

Several organizations offer codes, standards, and best practices for energy storage technology. These cover installation, certification, fire protection, outreach to first responders, and much more. Since energy storage technology is developing quickly, standards are also evolving substantially. Please follow the links below to inform your selection, installation, and use of batteries and other storage devices:

  • UL 1973 covers energy storage for solar photovoltaics, wind turbine storage, and other stationary applications as well as for light electric rail applications.
  • UL 1973 is evolving into UL 9540, a newer standard that covers related systems for storing energy from power sources or providing electricity to power conversion equipment, for example electrical charging or discharging equipment.
  • NEC 480 applies to stationary batteries that provide an independent source of power for emergency lighting, switchgear control, engine-generator set starting, signal and communications systems, laboratory power, and similar applications.
  • NEC 705 has expanded and applies to power-production systems connected to the electrical
  • California Building Standards Code contains a wide range of valuable information for connecting electrical equipment including batteries.
  • The California Fire Code and California Electrical Code are important for the installation and operation of energy storage technologies.
  • State Fire Marshal proposed changes to 2016 CALIFORNIA ELECTRIC CODE
  • UL 3001 is an exciting standard just announced to cover the safety and performance of distributed energy systems such as solar PV arrays, wind turbines, energy storage, grid interface equipment, and more including for system design, integration, and operation. UL 3001 must still be developed and reviewed, so please allow it some time – and watch it evolve – but it doesn’t have a webpage yet.
  • SED Energy Storage Safety Forum Presentation, February 22-24, 20417.

The California State Fire Marshall provides a wealth of safety information and practices. Please follow this link
to find out more:

If you would like to read more about best practices for energy storage, please follow these links for extensive and detailed information from Sandia National Labs, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: