China Energy Storage Technologies

Pumped hydro

China has over 50% of the world’s small hydro plants and generous subsidies for hydro projects. The world’s largest hydro pump storage project is located in Tianhuangping. Several pumped storage projects are in the pipeline or have been developed over the past three years, perhaps to balance planned intermittent renewable capacity. Although the number of planned projects are not on the same scale and in the same numbers as those planned in the US.

China has a large, growing domestic market for lithium ion batteries as sales of mobile phones and portable electronics is increasing. The market for lithium ion batteries is worth more than USD 4 billion with over 600 million mobile phone subscribers in the country.

Electric Vehicles

It has been reported that high lithium prices will limit the growth of the battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles worldwide. Although, NRGEXPERT expects lithium prices to be less of a problem for the Chinese market as China is one the main suppliers of lithium for batteries.

A trial plug-in hybrid vehicle charging station programme was completed using fifty charging stations in ten cities in November 2010. There are plans to introduce a mandate for start-stop technology in all internal combustion vehicles which would promote the development of the electric vehicle sector.

The market for e-bikes and scooters may be larger than for cars, due to policies that favour their use such as the banning of gasoline-powered two-wheeled vehicles in Shanghai, and limited ownership of conventional cars. There will still be a market for electric cars, but on a smaller scale. At the end of 2010 Chinese manufacturers announced ninety potential BEV/PHEV models and over ten are expected to be launched this year.