A decision to halve import tariffs of China made lithium-ion batteries into the US only goes some of the way to ensuring growth in the country’s energy storage markets, the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) has said.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) decision to lower tariffs on Chinese lithium-ion batteries from 15% to 7.5%, will come into effect on 14 February.
Around 40% of the US’ lithium-ion battery projects for grid storage use batteries imported from China, say the ESA.
The changes come after the USTR announced a tariff hike of 10% last August. It was subsequently upped to 17% on the eve of implementation 12 days later on the bequest of president Donald Trump.
The announcement on 15 January was part of a larger trade deal in response to a Phase One trade agreement. However, further negotiations may lead to additional changes as the second phase is due to close after the 2020 US election.
Although welcomed, Kelly Speakes-Backman (pictured), chief executive officer at the ESA, called for even greater measures to aid America’s efforts to modernise its power system.
She said: “This will help to ease the tariffs’ adverse economic effects on grid energy storage deployments in America, the ESA has deep concerns regarding any tariffs on lithium-ion battery imports, because they are inconsistent with the federal government’s efforts to encourage growth in storage deployment and US job creation.
“This action demonstrates movement in the right direction; however, ESA looks forward to timely and full removal of the tariffs.
“ESA and its members continue to call on the U.S. Trade Representative for the full removal of the tariffs on grid energy storage components, due to storage’s critical role in improving electric system resilience, energy security, and job creation.”
The ESA has published safety guidelines for deploying energy storage systems that include how to plan for and mitigate potential operational hazards earlier this month.