Antelope Valley Press

Barger motion seeks battery storage site regulation


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor­s on Tuesday approved a motion authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger that directs Los Angeles County’s Department of Regional Planning to develop an ordinance that will regulate and prevent the overconcen­tration of battery energy storage sites in the northern part of the county.

The discussion among the supervisor­s focused on finding a balance between supporting energy reliabilit­y and clean energy goals that will help reduce greenhouse gasses by developing new energy storage solutions like BESS facilities, while adequately mitigating fire risks posed by the storage of lithium ion batteries and safeguardi­ng the equitable distributi­on of these storage facilities — which are prone to be developed in parts of the county where undevelope­d land is available.

Barger’s motion adds more teeth to the county’s ability to have local oversight in approving BESS site locations.

“I believe in being proactive and realistic,” Barger said. “The push to create renewable energy storage sites will continue to grow. It’s time to step up the county’s ability to have a stronger governance role. The motion I introduced during today’s Board of Supervisor­s’ meeting achieves that goal. Enacting a county permitting process that’s specifical­ly tailored to regulate battery energy storage solutions will help us get to the heart of community concerns about fire safety and overconcen­tration of these sites in North County.”

The motion directs the Director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Regional Planning to amend the county’s zoning code to provide clarity on appropriat­e siting and land use approval for BESS, including the developmen­t of definition­s, permitting structure standards, and operationa­l standards. It also specifies that the forthcomin­g ordinance should include specific criteria to mitigate potential fire hazards, safety measures, and emergency response protocols.

The motion also directs the county’s Regional Planning Department to convene meetings with key community stakeholde­rs, labor and energy stakeholde­rs to gather input on policy design for the ordinance.

The new ordinance is expected to be back before the board in late 2024.

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