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By 2030, the European Union could become as dependent on lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells from China as it was on Russian energy supplies before the war against Ukraine, Reuters reported on Sept. 18, citing an obtained EU document.
Due to the irregular nature of renewable energy sources like solar or wind, Europe will need instruments to store energy to achieve its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, said the document prepared for EU leaders' meeting on economic security.
"This will skyrocket our demand for lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells and electrolysers, which is expected to multiply between 10 and 30 times in the coming years," the paper explained, as cited by Reuters.
"Without implementing strong measures, the European energy ecosystem could have a dependency on China by 2030 of a different nature, but with a similar severity, from the one it had on Russia before the invasion of Ukraine."
Although the EU holds more than 50% of the global market in the intermediate and assembly phases of producing electrolysers, the bloc relies massively on China for fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries critical for electric vehicles, Reuters wrote.
Since 2022, the EU has set the goal of weaning off itself from Russian gas supplies, as well as other fossil fuels. Using the dependency of European countries on Russian imports, Moscow has several times reduced or cut off the gas flow to undermine the EU's support for Ukraine.
However, despite being hooked on Russian gas for years, Europe reduced the pipeline gas imports and decreased the share of Russian gas in the EU's energy mix from 40% to 10% within a year.
Profits from fossil fuels have traditionally constituted a substantial segment of Russia's revenue, feeding the Kremlin's war effort against Ukraine.