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China tariffs: US industry group has ‘deep concerns’

The US Energy Storage Association has expressed “deep concern” that additional tariffs slapped on Chinese goods will adversely affect the domestic energy storage industry.

The increase in prices in a price sensitive industry “could stymie projects already underway or cancel others altogether”, which could threaten livelihoods. The decision will “have an immediate and adverse economic effect on grid energy storage deployments in the United States,” a statement from the association said.

ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman had put out a similar statement in June, as the reality of the tariff increase from 10% to 25% began to seem more concrete. The trade group reiterated this week that it “has deep concerns regarding the announcement of additional tariffs on Chinese lithium-ion batteries.”

With the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity in the world and its lead likely to increase, many stationary energy storage markets in regions including the US largely rely on Chinese batteries. To slow down the current wave of deployment with disruption to the supply chain, would also disrupt industry efforts to create and maintain “a resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable grid for all Americans,” the ESA statement said.

In the US, a lithium-ion battery makes up about 40% to 60% of the total installed cost of a standalone battery storage asset, a S&P Global Platts senior analyst had said in June. Applying tariffs to both inverter and battery “could increase the installed prices for a four-hour duration battery by about 15%,” Felix Maire at S&P Global Platts, said. 

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