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Lithium Carbonate Prices Slightly Fluctuate; Domestic Energy Storage Installed Capacity Hits Record High

published: 2023-07-20 17:34

As of the end of June 2022, the tender capacity for domestic lithium iron phosphate battery energy storage systems has surpassed 15GWh. In June, the winning capacity for domestic lithium battery energy storage projects reached 6400MWh, an impressive increase of 6008MWh compared to the previous month. The major winners were centralized procurement projects initiated by large energy enterprises, with a few new energy distribution storage and shared power station storage projects also participating in the tender. The weighted average bidding price for energy storage systems in June was RMB 1.06/Wh, marking a decrease of RMB 0.16/Wh compared to the average price in May and a significant 28% decline since January. As we approach the peak installation season in the second half of the year, we anticipate continuous growth in energy storage bidding capacity over the next three to four months.

Based on the winning prices, the upstream raw material prices are rebounding at a slower pace, contributing to price stability. According to some statistics from CNESA DataLink for the period between January and June 2023, a total of 8.0GWh bidding capacity for centralized procurement of power storage batteries was announced, with 7.8GWh of winning bidding capacity published. The average bidding price was RMB 0.58/Wh, while the quoted prices ranged from RMB 0.44/Wh to RMB 0.68/Wh. The primary bidding capacity was for 280Ah lithium iron phosphate batteries.

Regarding the overseas market, in Europe, the core price of natural gas futures has seen a significant decline of more than 60% compared to last year. However, the European natural gas supply still faces vulnerability due to an unstable balance. The shutdown plan of Norwegian gas plants has contributed to the gradual return of natural gas futures prices to normal levels since the beginning of this year, but they rose more than 50% in June. Meanwhile, the European electricity spot price has remained stable, and the core cost declined compared to the same period last year but showed a slight increase in May month-on-month. As temperatures increased, major European countries entered their peak electricity consumption period. The delayed operation of the Norwegian gas plant caused gas futures prices to rebound, resulting in a slight increase in electricity spot prices compared to May.

In May 2023, the U.S. utility-scale PV added installed capacity reached 1074MW, marking a significant increase of 54.3% year-on-year. During the same period, utility-scale energy storage installed capacity reached 134MW. From January to May, the U.S. utility-scale PV saw a new installed capacity of 4248MW, up 22.7% year-on-year, while utility-scale energy storage reached 722MW, down 36.6% year-on-year.
According to EIA statistics, the planned grid-connected PV installed capacity and energy storage capacity for public utility will be 22GW and 9GW, respectively, from June to December 2023, showing a remarkable increase of 196% and 203%. The decline in U.S. energy storage installed capacity in the first half of 2023 is mainly due to the prolonged confirmation cycle of energy storage projects and hesitant customers caused by the decreasing lithium carbonate price. However, it is expected that the U.S. energy storage installed capacity will gradually increase in the second half of 2023.

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