A recent document obtained by Reuters has revealed that the European Union (EU) could become heavily dependent on Chinese lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells for its renewable energy storage needs. The EU aims to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, and due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like solar and wind, energy storage technologies will be crucial in achieving this goal.
The document warns that the demand for lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and electrolysers is expected to increase between 10 and 30 times in the coming years to support Europe’s renewable energy storage needs. Without strong measures in place, the EU could develop a similar level of dependency on China for these technologies as it previously had on Russian energy supplies before the war with Ukraine.
The EU currently holds over 50% of the global market share in the intermediate and assembly phases of producing electrolysers. However, it heavily relies on China for fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries, particularly for electric vehicles. This reliance on Chinese technology raises concerns about the EU’s energy security.
The EU has been working towards reducing its dependency on fossil fuels, including Russian gas imports, since 2022. Russia has previously used its control over gas supplies to Europe as a means to undermine the EU’s support for Ukraine. Despite this, Europe has managed to decrease its reliance on Russian gas, reducing its share in the EU’s energy mix from 40% to 10% within a year.
It is worth noting that profits from fossil fuels have played a significant role in Russia’s revenue, supporting its war efforts against Ukraine. The potential dependency on Chinese energy technology could have wide-ranging implications for the EU’s economic and geopolitical stability.