Community Update: Dr. Leach provides BESS information at Aug. 17 WVCSD Board Meeting


Community Update: Dr. Leach provides BESS information at Aug. 17 WVCSD Board Meeting

August 18, 2023

Superintendent Dr. David Leach provided an update on this summer’s battery storage system failures at the County Route 1 and Church Street locations and next steps for the system on County Route 1 during the Aug. 17 Board of Education meeting.

The County Route 1 Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) location witnessed a fire, while the Church Street location triggered alarms.

Investigations are ongoing, with the Centipede module by Powin identified as having potentially faulty components. Convergent West Warwick LLC is yet to determine the root cause analysis.

Both problematic units have been disconnected and are under review by Vertex Engineering.

Safety measures included closing schools, outdoor venues, and offices. School buildings reopened on July 3 after air quality checks showed no issues.

The district is waiting for the completion of the root cause analysis and the development of a plan. The district will seek reimbursement from Convergent.

Convergent will share its findings with the Board on September 14, if the root cause analysis is complete.

Keith Pitman, Senior Forensic Electrical Engineer from Vertex, said that multiple investigations are under way, including those from Convergent, Powin, and insurance companies.

Vertex is focused solely on the root cause analysis and advising the Board of Education about potential future actions.

The site was examined, equipment that was removed has been documented, and were shipped to Ohio for analysis, including x-rays, CT Scans, and dissections. Church Street location materials are also in Ohio for analysis.

The team will reconvene with more information on similar incidents throughout the country, advancements made, if any, and the functioning of these sites in the nation and world.

Dr. Leach and the Board President Keith Parsons will meet with Senator Skoufis to discuss the BESS and next steps.

Our primary focus has and will always be the safety of Warwick Valley students and staff. We will continue to share new information as it becomes available. You may review our previous posts and related documents here:


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