Littleton Residents Push Back On Battery Storage Project, Citing Safety Concerns

Jan 16, 2020

Littleton residents continued to evaluate a proposal to build a battery energy storage system in town at a public hearing Tuesday night. 

The proposed battery storage system would cover about 13 acres in a rural zone in Littleton. At Tuesday’s meeting and in previous hearings, residents raised concerns about fire safety.

“There were a lot of what if questions,” said Jessica Daine, chair of the Littleton Planning Board.

About 100 residents attended the hearing, according to the Caledonian Record.

These systems use rechargeable lithium ion batteries to store electricity from the grid. That energy can be released at peak usage times.

At a hearing in December, Littleton Fire Chief Joe Mercieri pointed to fires that occurred at similar storage sites in Vermont and Arizona. First responders were injured in the Arizona fire, and it has delayed battery storage projects in that state.

The planning board was considering whether to hire an outside consultant with expertise in fire safety, lithium batteries and real estate to review the plan.

But Daine says the board decided against that in a 3-2 vote.

“Some of the board members felt they had enough information to vote on it without waiting for an expert to present to the board,” she said.

Instead, Litus Energy Storage LLC, the Massachusetts-based company proposing the project, will bring in their own experts to answer residents’ questions and concerns on March 24.