Batteries: Is Europe’s Dependence on China Becoming a Threat?

by | 22. Sep 2023 - 14:11 | Politics

Demand for energy storage rising to meet climate targets.

The EU fears becoming as dependent on China for lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells by 2030 as it was on Russian energy before the war in Ukraine, Reuters reports. That’s according to a strategy paper prepared for European leaders by the Spanish presidency of the EU Council, which is available to the news agency. The issue will be discussed on Oct. 5 at the EU summit in Granada, Spain.

According to the authors of the paper, the feared dependency scenario could occur if the European Union does not take countermeasures. The background to the growing dependence on the People’s Republic is the volatility of wind and solar energy and the resulting sharp rise in demand for energy storage, which will be needed to eliminate CO2 by 2050. Demand for lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers for hydrogen production will increase 10- to 30-fold in the coming years, according to the paper.

China Invests in Battery Plants Abroad

Meanwhile, the People’s Republic is increasingly focusing on manufacturing batteries abroad and expanding its international presence in the market. Last week, for example, Chinese battery maker Gotion and Indonesia’s Angurah Neo Energy Materials agreed to build a plant that will produce materials for electric car batteries, according to the state-run newspaper China Daily. Chinese companies have also invested in electric vehicle battery production plants in the United States and Hungary. China’s largest battery producer according to China Daily, CATL, also has a plant in Germany, and another is being built in Hungary, which is expected to be Europe’s largest battery factory by 2025, the newspaper adds.

Photo: iStock/solarseven

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