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Editor's Blog

John Shepherd

Is it a ‘Fannie and Freddie’ moment for lithium technology in the US?


Safety concerns are top of the battery agenda again, as we reveal regulators' fears that the currently unexplained explosion at a grid-scale BESS plant in Arizona could trigger a review of safety standards. This could in turn spill over into the US residential storage market.

The US now joins South Korea at the tipping point of lithium battery fires. As far as the US is concerned, could this be a Fannie and Freddie moment— akin to the subprime mortgage crisis?

Utility chiefs and regulators in Arizona have said: "Batteries are the future for the US." If lithium technology is so important to that future and cannot be allowed to fail, then the industry needs to get a grip— and quickly.

Batteries of every chemistry have the potential to enjoy a bright future, if the plethora of projects and deals we report on in this issue are anything to go by. 

As we predicted last week, Sweden's Northvolt has secured the funds it needs to build what could be Europe's first commercial battery cells plant. Germany's VW is now a contender too, with a mystery partner backing its gigafactory plan.

But Chinese and Korean firms continue to tighten their grip on the EV battery supply market in Europe— this time in deals with Volvo. And despite geopolitical tensions between Seoul and Beijing, Korea's SK Innovation is to further expand in China. Even the UK's Moixa has not been held back by the Brexit debate in attracting international investors for its battery technology. 

Read the latest battery news here on our web site first. Remember, we publish a weekly round-up in BEST Battery Briefing— FREE every Monday— highlighting stories we've covered over the past week. Sign up for the newsletter by clicking here and if you're already a recipient and find BBB useful, please forward it to friends.

Meanwhile, make sure you've subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. The Spring 2019 issue is out now!

Online, on-digital and on-target— are you?

Phone directories. When was the last time you used one?

Trouble ahead for lead?

ALABC’s Allan Cooper warns the lead-acid industry that the battle is in danger of being lost to lithium-ion for European 48V cars.

It’s easy as AABC

The Editor visited Atlanta for the 14th Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC).

Behind-the-meter energy storage: A new scheme?

'Behind-the-meter' energy storage could be an attractive solution in California, not least for firms looking for new ways to suckle at the taxpayer teat.

The future is electric but is it 48V?

Changing the voltage level of electrical systems in cars is not an easy task. In fact, it is a real pain in the backside.

UK energy storage competition: Far too little, far too late

After months of delay, the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) finally announced the winners of its

Energy storage – regulation, regulation, regulation

BEST has been in Amsterdam for the European Utility Week conference & exhibition. Until 2012, the show was known as Metering & Billing Europe and, frankly, was not worthy of the short hop across the North Sea from BESTmag Towers.

Germany aims for unlikely fuel cell domination

Not content with being the world’s leading exporter of cars many people lust after – be they Mercedes, BMW or Audi, Germany now wants to be a world leader in fuel cell cars and fuel cells.

The aging beauty and the younger woman

If there was a tagline for the 15th Asian Battery Conference (ABC15) in Singapore, it could only have been 'Lead Ain't Dead'. Yes, it's a tired cliche but the lead-acid battery industry is feeling just a little bit touchy these days.

The curse of the ABC

The curse of ABC has failed to arrive: On the anniversary of 9/11