Duke Energy ditches Chinese batteries over hacking worries

February 10, 2024
1 min read

TLDR: Duke Energy has announced that it will phase out Chinese-made batteries from Camp Lejeune due to potential cybersecurity threats. The decision comes after warnings from U.S. officials about Chinese hackers targeting critical infrastructure. Duke Energy installed batteries from Chinese manufacturer CATL less than a year ago but has decided to decommission them and replace them with batteries from a domestic or allied nation supplier. Though some industry experts warn that avoiding Chinese batteries will limit the supply needed for battery storage systems and EVs, Duke Energy plans to phase out CATL batteries from other projects by 2027 without specifying a new supplier.

Duke Energy has decided to remove Chinese-made batteries from Camp Lejeune due to concerns about potential cybersecurity threats. The decision follows warnings from U.S. officials about Chinese hackers targeting critical infrastructure, including the U.S. power grid. The batteries, manufactured by Chinese company CATL, were installed less than a year ago and were used to store energy from a solar farm on the base. Duke Energy temporarily disconnected the batteries in December after concerns were raised about their vulnerability to hacking. The company plans to replace the Chinese batteries with batteries from a domestic or allied nation supplier, in collaboration with policymakers and the Department of the Navy.

While some experts argue that the Chinese battery cells themselves do not present serious security concerns, there are concerns about the communication systems on the batteries being vulnerable to hacking. The integration of smart capabilities into energy assets that are part of critical infrastructure, such as the power grid and micro grid on a military base, raises potential security risks. However, fully avoiding Chinese batteries could limit the supply of batteries needed for the deployment of battery storage systems and electric vehicles. China is a global leader in battery manufacturing. Duke Energy plans to phase out CATL batteries from other projects by 2027, but it has not specified a new supplier.

Overall, Duke Energy’s decision to phase out Chinese batteries is a response to growing concerns about potential cybersecurity threats from Chinese hackers. While the specific security risks posed by the Chinese batteries are not clear, there is a general recognition of the need to protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. The decision also highlights the challenges of relying on China for battery manufacturing, as China is a key player in the global battery market. This raises questions about the future supply of batteries for battery storage systems and electric vehicles, as well as the potential for geopolitical tensions to affect the availability of critical technologies.

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