SACRAMENTO – Senator John Laird (D – Santa Cruz) has introduced Senate Bill 38 with the intent to enact future legislation to enhance worker safety at battery storage facilities.
“This September, California saw record temperatures putting immense strain on our state’s electrical grid. We were able to avoid blackouts in part due to our investments of 3,500 megawatts of clean energy battery storage,” said Laird. “Increasing the state’s battery storage is essential to reaching our clean energy goals, but we also have to ensure that these facilities have safety systems in place to ensure the safety of workers and surrounding communities.”
Senator Laird introduces SB 38 after a fire broke out in September of 2022 at the Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility in Moss Landing, triggering a 12-hour shelter in place for local residents over fear that the lithium-ion battery fire released dangerous fumes into the air.
As California transitions to increased reliance on renewable energy, industrial-sized battery facilities are becoming a fast growing part of the state’s energy system. However, the recent fire in Moss Landing, along with a handful of other reported fires at battery facilities, including the 2020 explosion at an Arizona facility that put four firefighters in the hospital with chemical and chemical inhalation burns, demonstrate the need for enhanced safety procedures for these vital facilities.
Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties, the majority of Monterey County, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.