US military BESS from CATL shut down in national security row

US military BESS from CATL shut down in national security row

US military BESS from CATL shut down in national security row 1024 573 Energy Storage Journal

December 14, 2023: Energy storage system batteries supplied by China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) for use at a US military base have been shut down amid allegations they posed a potential threat to national security.

Legislators from the US Senate and House of Representatives had written to defense secretary Lloyd Austin on November 30 calling for the removal of the ESS from the Camp Lejeune base in North Carolina — and urging checks into whether CATL batteries had been installed at other US military bases.

Utility Duke Energy disconnected the system on December 1, North Carolina Republican congressman Greg Murphy confirmed on December 4.

Murphy said he would “not stand for the infiltration of our military by the Chinese Communist Party.

“It is no secret that China is working diligently to undermine the US every single day,” Murphy claimed.

Fellow Republican and Florida senator Marco Rubio, who was a signatory to the letter sent to the defense secretary, said: “Disconnecting Chinese batteries at Camp Lejeune is important, but the batteries should have never been installed to begin with. We need to secure our military bases from outside threats, not invite them in.”

CATL said in a statement issued through Reuters that accusations about its batteries posing a potential security threat were false and misleading and that its products had passed rigorous safety and security reviews including those by US authorities and businesses.

Duke Energy said in November 2022 it had been awarded a $22 million contract by Camp Lejeune for the design and construction of a microgrid at the base, incorporating a 5.4MW ESS and a solar power system to provide integrated demand management, black start and islanding capability.

The utility said at the time that Camp Lejeune was home to the largest concentration of marines in the US Marine Corps.

Last March, Duke Energy said it had started commercial operation of a new 11MW/11MWh LFP energy storage system on leased land within the site boundary of Camp Lejeune, which could also be used in conjunction with the site’s existing solar facility.

 The utility did not name the batteries supplier.

US Navy commander Ross Campbell, director of public works at the base, said last March that the latest BESS project was “an important investment in the pursuit of energy security” at the site.