Borough President Vito Fossella Addresses Dangers Of Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage Units After Upstate Fire
After fires at two lithium-ion battery energy storage units in Warwick, N.Y., smoldered for days last month, Borough President Vito Fossella gathered with his fellow elected officials to point out the dangers of those already built or those that are under construction on Staten Island.
“As many folks who have driven around Staten Island have come to realize in a negative way is that there are battery storage units that are popping up,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference this morning in Great Kills where a site is under construction. "The reality is that we’re seeing that these battery storage units are being plopped right next to people’s homes, right next to their stores -- and momentarily right next to a future house of worship. We think it’s wrong. Recently in Warwick, we saw an identical situation that could be happening right behind us. There were a lot of folks who said don’t be concerned, but what happened in Warwick is Exhibit A that we should be concerned and safety should be our number one priority. Anybody who owns a home shouldn’t have to go into their backyard and see these things just a few feet from their deck or their pool -- and these things are not going away anytime soon.”
To that end, Borough President Fossella announced that Council Members Joseph Borelli, David Carr and Kamillah Hanks will be introducing legislation that would require the facilities to be built at least 200-feet from any home or store.
The fire in Warick was a storm-related issue that caused two new units to ignite and burn in two separate incidents on June 26, Council Member Borelli said.
Council Member Borelli said a compromise needs to be worked out with city authorities to address the makeup of the battery storage systems, where they can be sited and how far they can be from residential neighborhoods.
“These are actual dangers that aren’t being addressed,” said Council Member Borelli, who has been open-minded about new energy sources for Staten Island. “If water can get into the system and cause a fire that can smolder for a week in Warwick, N.Y., it can happen here.”