Representing CFA on the global stage

Member News image Specialist Risk and Fire Safety Manager Matthew Allen presenting in Seattle


CFA has produced a new version of its renewable energy guidelines – the first of its kind in the world.


These guidelines are standards that support planning authorities, designers and operators of renewable energy facilities in relation to bushfire risk and fire safety.

CFA was recently invited to present on these guidelines in Seattle, Washington.

Specialist Risk and Fire Safety Manager Matthew Allen presented at the third Asia-Pacific Economies Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials Meeting, focusing on Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) codes and regulation development.

“CFA developed the first renewable energy guideline back in 2019 because of a rising level of risk associated with renewable energy facilities,” Matthew said.

"From 2019 the document has been updated in line with the industry’s rapid development into the Australian market.

“With the updates came interest from overseas, and the guideline were being spoken about at an international level as the first comprehensive guideline from a fire service that looked at this risk. Since then, other states and territories in Australia have taken our guideline and adapted them to their needs.”

Matthew said he was humbled to have been invited to speak at the conference, and learned a lot about what other countries within APEC and the world are doing in the BESS space.

“All countries that participated in the workshop have varying levels of regulations and standards associated with BESS.

“APEC economies are lucky to have a number of organisations that are undertaking testing of products and research into BESS, so that we can ensure safety to the communities that surround these systems and the fire responders attending these facilities.”

Matthew said attending the conference was incredibly valuable, and while he learned a lot, he hopes others learned from his presentation as well.

“I was able to show why the CFA guideline was developed and the influence this is having on the industry in Victoria. I presented to the group that our guideline provides standard considerations and measures for fire safety, risk and emergency management to be considered when designing, constructing and operating renewable energy facilities.

“After the presentation, I spoke to a number of APEC economies interested in our guideline and wanting me to provide some support to enable the use of our guideline.”

The new guidelines will incorporate a number of changes including the inclusion of the Australian Fire Danger Rating System, new and emerging risks within the industry, changes to model requirements to contemporise the document and more.

The guideline was released on 31 August 2023, and more information can be found on the CFA website.


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Submitted by CFA Media