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And speaking of China

13 Mar 2024 | OP ED Watch

There are people to whom patriotism seems embarrassing. Including Canada’s Trudeau administration, evidently, working overtime to conceal from the public the degree of their complicity in concealing Chinese communist espionage at our only top-level biohazard lab, which was shipping lethal variants straight to… oh dear… the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But here’s another major issue: a crucial aspect of the fabled “clean energy transition” on the other side of which, as Kerry put it, “is a better world – cleaner, safer, healthier, more secure” is finding energy storage systems to deal with the tendency of wind and solar to produce unevenly and at the wrong times. And unfortunately the world of BESS, as in Battery Energy Storage Systems, is dominated by… China. So shall we embed their technology including command and control systems in the heart of our vital energy grid and trust that in a geopolitical crisis they would never, ever, think of turning the power off until we surrender?

As Parker Gallant warns, a Chinese firm called Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. currently controls 40% of the global market in such batteries. And of its top 10 rivals, not one is American while eight are… oh dear… Chinese. All Chinese firms being obliged, formally and informally, to obey the Politburo and share secrets with it.

The Americans are waking up to this issue. As a cybersecurity publication called CSO recently noted:

“Concern over Chinese technology in US critical infrastructure has been rising for years, given that US dominance in industrial technology manufacturing has given way over the past several decades to cheaper and often better Chinese suppliers. From bulk power system components to port cranes to video surveillance equipment and more, Chinese-made gear and technology now appear in most, if not the vast majority, of the industrial and commercial systems supporting the US economy.”

Canada, by contrast took years to ban Huawei gear from its critical 5G infrastructure network and is still leaking research to that firm, in keeping with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s openly professed admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship” that could allegedly cram a green agenda down the throats of citizens in ways Canada’s democracy made difficult. As for batteries, the CSO article continued:

“Given the intensifying adversarial relationship between the US and China and the intertwined relationships between Chinese tech suppliers and China’s government, fears have arisen that China can use this technological predominance for politically or militarily motivated malfeasance. One area of recent concern is China’s growing footprint in supplying storage batteries to the US power grid. Lawmakers, concerned over the potential security risks these batteries pose, have successfully gotten at least one major US electric utility company to stop using Chinese-made storage batteries. Experts say that these batteries could be used maliciously by China to destabilize and even destroy portions of the US power system. Given the lack of alternative, affordable battery makers, the short-run options for addressing these risks are limited.”

While the U.S. is acting, most other Western governments are sleepy on security, partly out of reflexive anti-Americanism and partly out of sloth, while the Canadian government actually appears at times to be against it for reasons difficult to understand but stretching from anti-Americanism and sloth to venality and beyond.

Authorities here may of course find themselves under a lot of pressure, including thanks to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which sets standards for North America and could even disallow interconnected operation by non-compliant Canadian provinces. But it would be nice if they could do something out of intelligent principle instead.

2 comments on “And speaking of China”

  1. Do we need another reason to scale back renewables,and more specifically BESS systems supplied by China?The West really is supplying the rope
    with which the Commies would hang us with,as predicted by Lenin a century ago.Do we really have to draw a picture for our pols?

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