Energy

Scott on State House backup battery storage snafu: “….never contemplated it would be a fire hazard”

by Guy Page

The backup power storage battery installed in the basement of the Vermont State House has been ruled a fire hazard by fire officials, Gov. Phil Scott conceded at a press conference today.

Installed for the opening of the January, 2021 legislature, the backup system received an allocation of $450,000, which was originally to replace the old diesel system, VTbiz.com reported 1/5/2021. However, in committee lawmakers raised the idea of using a battery backup. A new diesel system would have required relocating the diesel engine outside and even blasting ledge outside the State House cafeteria.

At today’s press conference (see video) Gov. Scott was asked by Seven Days reporter Kevin McCallum about the backup battery being declared a fire hazard, Gov. Scott said he and others “never contemplated it would be a fire hazard.”

The lesson learned is that bumps happen along the way to electrification, and to always check with the fire department first before installing new equipment, he said.

By the way, that’s 19th century Gov. Urban Woodbury of Burlington looking on in the background.

Categories: Energy

30 replies »

  1. Lithium storage batteries in a 164 year old structure? We truly live in a state where well-meaning ignorance trumps common sense. Are those responsible so pathetically stupid as to not understand why some, home insurance firms exclude loss from an EV in an attached garage?

  2. The technology for all of this electrification is clearly not ready yet.

    This somehow still escapes them…..

  3. That’s just too apropo ! Lithium batteries melting down in everything from hoverboards to Teslas, to garages, and these green eggheads never saw that coming ? I hope they still have the old Cat generator .

  4. Never even contemplated it.

    And these clowns make the laws.

    How is it that common folks like you and I know better?

    This seems to happen with increasing frequency, especially on this particular subject.

    • In government (not just in VT) you fail upwards if you are of the same mindset as the manager (they are your buddy). If you aren’t of the same mindset and attempt to think then you are accused of rocking the boat, and you get pushed out. If you follow directions, don’t rock the boat you get to stay and keep your job.

      So they are full of mostly drones, a few people who “think” but all think alike.

      That is your VT government workforce, that you pay dearly for, who get better benefits than most of you do.

      How do you think the health department was able to take all those calls from people who explained to them that this jab is hurting people and they still answered the phone everyday telling people to get their jab?

  5. Perhaps they did know and did it anyway. As is the case with many of their actions over the past few decades, particularly the last three years. Safe and effective. Most secure election ever in history using mail-in ballots and hackable machines.

  6. Just to play devil’s advocate here, just suppose the “fire officials” are overplaying their hand here. Did no “safety nazis” bring this matter up when this equipment installation was proposed and installed? It’s not like we just discovered the fire dangers of lithium-based batteries yesterday. One of the main issues being discussed in the statehouse this session is the shortage and the high cost of housing in Vermont. Fire officials have for years now added to that high cost of building a home through mandates for wide, moderately-sloped and curved driveways, requirements for oversized windows and now even sprinkler systems for single-family homes that they consider to be “too far from the fire station”. All due respect to fire safety professionals, but I dont ever recall voting for one or having some say about excessive and perhaps even paranoid fire regulations applying to private residences.

    • Probably not overplaying a hand. All batteries have issues we are all familiar with and technology is outpacing fire safety codes. What seemed a great green idea two years ago isn’t seen as so smart today. The damage of a fire in the statehouse directly or indirectly caused by these batteries would be devastating to taxpayers. (maybe…the legislature adjourning now might also be a mighty good thing)
      Vermont has a Division of Fire Safety, which is treated poorly by the legislature when funding. They probably were involved with the determination on these batteries. If not, they should have been- There’s some good people in DFS, doing the real work- not politicking. Additionally, I do not believe Vermont has adopted codes for ESS (energy storage systems) yet. Unfortunately, good intentions have cost taxpayers a whole lot of money- and over zealous legislators are well equipped to spend other people’s money, especially for virtue-signaling. While the battery system may not be appropriate for the statehouse, there are state owned buildings where these units can be used, so that our investment of tax dollars isn’t lost.

    • The answer is property and casualty insurance lobby. Auto safety and property fire safety is driven by the insurance market to protect profit margins. The primary job of a fire marshall inspecting a fire is to rule out arson. Safety measures such as detectors, fire walls, etc. is to minimize large property and liability losses for the insurers. Legislatures make rules for the industry lobby, not for the general public. As far as lithium batteries go, it is the lobby of the climate cult to force the general public to take on the unspoken, unrealized liability and property damages. Solar panels rotting a roof, declined property value next to a wind or solar farm, batterty banks in commercial or residential buildings, EV’s exploding and burning down a house or business. The push for eco-friendly could boomerang onto the consumers. The manufacturers and insurers will bury, in the fine print, exclusions of liablity for property damages as it is a contract that many never read. A consumer can be left with losses and exposures they had no idea could happen. If the State House were to burn down, it is likely on the taxpayers dime either way. They don’t care and their snickering plausible deniabilty proves it.

    • I hadn’t realized the power and reach of the state for a while until I had to have a fire inspection. They threatened to force me to tear down a finished basement to bare floor and studs and said that they had the “authority” to do it which would have cost 10’s of thousands.

  7. There are surely ways to make this battery system useable. A fireproof building could be erected adjacent to the Statehouse and have the batteries be moved there. In the unlikely event of a fire the Statehouse would not be in danger and you would maintain the benefits of the rechargeable batteries.

  8. For a major electrical change in a public building isn’t a permit required? If so this would have been caught before a major outlay of tax payer money. Putting these very dangerous batteries in any building where people work, live, or sleep is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Will we learn before it is too late?

  9. Perhaps a lesson learned in reading and understanding their legislation before passing it. How many vehicles already have burst into flames due to their electric batteries. How many tragedies will it take on public transportation units before legislators stop worshipping special interest groups?

  10. It was probably one of the new green deal progressive companies promoting this.
    I’m not sure but usually you need permits for this kind of work. Prints to be given to the state fire marshals and other people to look over. Architects. For that much money there should have been lots of that stuff. We need more transparency. Bottom line no common sense in our statehouse either.

  11. We the people should not be saddled with their $450K mistake in the rush to be green.
    But they will put the burden of removal, remediation, all the new committees to research a solution, solution engineering, and finally construction of the new back up system will all be placed on the taxpayer!!!
    Wake up and say “enough is enough”!!!

  12. So, do we now have a discrepancy between electrical codes and fire codes?
    Will this realization apply to those who have already been talked into having these batteries installed in single-family dwellings?

  13. Just another prime example to confirm what I’ve been saying; Phil Scott shouldn’t have been governor because he just isn’t bright enough for the job.

  14. The problem is with a single party government. The legislature no longer has anyone to point out the problems with all the bright ideas the Progressive alliance come up with. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t ask us… .

  15. One would expect the Climate Council and any “Global Warming” planning to address the impact of lithium battery usage on all EVs and the not yet planned renewable power back-up systems (a huge $$$$ problem for wind and solar). Maybe todays Vermont legislators will await the onslaught of liability claims after the the fact so that the future problem belongs to a future legislature? I would expect nothing ….

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