Monday, July 26, 2021

Wood Mackenzie: "Could China lead the global energy storage market by 2030?"

On the battery front the Chinese seem to have done a dandy job of locking up a bunch of the precursor metals.*

From WoodMac, July 7:

China’s energy storage strategy could unlock its net-zero ambitions 

China’s proposed policy to accelerate energy storage deployments – with a target to take its energy storage capacity to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2025 – could triple our current capacity forecast. The five-year timeframe could prove challenging from an economic standpoint, but China has good reason to push ahead.

Government support for the strategic battery market is strengthening against the backdrop of heightened US-China tensions and China’s pledge to peak emissions by 2030. The acceleration of its energy storage deployments is another example of China’s ambition to scale domestic strategic technology markets instead of diverting to exports, and to promote low-carbon technology and manufacturing.

Renewables pairing is a major shift in China’s storage investment policy

A key point of the proposed energy storage policy is the pairing of renewables – wind and solar – investments with storage systems equivalent to 5-20% of renewable capacity in China’s still highly regulated power market. The pairing policy is causing a major shift in storage investment, moving from grid companies to state-owned renewables developers. China’s large state-owned power generation utilities, such as China Energy, Huaneng, Huadian and SPIC, will play a much more significant role and take on more financial risk moving forward.

These companies can access low interest rates for project financing, and take the risks and uncertainties of project development and grid connection with less concern for profit margins. Although there is no expectation for storage to be economically viable in the early development stage, the current business model will not be sustainable in the long term.

Revenue uncertainty is a key challenge for storage projects in China

The lack of wholesale markets and difficulty in stacking revenue streams remain critical for the energy storage industry. China’s front-of-the-meter (FTM) projects barely make money as revenues rely on a fixed on-grid tariff. In 2020, China’s on-grid tariff for solar and wind hit a new low, staying in the range of RMB0.35-0.49/kWh (equivalent to US$54-76/MWh). Under such low tariffs, adding storage assets to renewables could double the project capex while creating zero economic gains for developers as time-of-usage power tariffs are not available for the FTM market....


*If interested see:

China Controls the Lithium Ion Battery Supply Chain and Electric Vehicle Dominance Is In Sight
"Caught between rare earths and Chinese dominance — Part 1: The story behind everything no one is telling you"
Please don't say "no one"
Have I mentioned the Chinese are not just the largest battery producers but have tied up the EV battery materials supply chain? Why yes, yes I have.