Trump’s Tariffs Are a ‘Glancing Blow’ for Wind Power, Batteries

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, June 18, 2018

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports include duties on components for wind turbines, nuclear reactors and batteries — but they are unlikely to cripple any of those industries.

Less than 2 percent of wind turbines installed in the U.S. since 2010 were imported from China, Stephen Munro, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an email Friday.

“It may prove to be a glancing blow as there are non-Chinese alternatives available,” he said.

The list of targeted products includes components used in most lithium-ion batteries, Ravi Manghani, an analyst at GTM Research, said in an email. But China supplies the U.S. with just 3 percent of those products, he said. Plus, he added, American manufacturers have multiple alternatives from Japan and South Korea.

When it comes to nukes, there’s are only two reactors under construction in the U.S., and it’s unlikely ground will be broken on any more large ones in the next decade, Chris Gadomski, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in an email.

“Any new reactors that may be built would be U.S. developed advanced reactors absent Chinese components,” Gadomski said.

Other products on the tariff list related to electricity generation and storage include:

  • Producer gas or water gas generators, acetylene gas generators and similar water process gas generators; with or without their purifiers
  • Parts for gas generators of subheading
  • Gas turbines, other than turbojets or turbopropellers of a power exceeding 5,000 kW, other than aircraft
  • Electric generating sets with compression-ignition internal-combustion piston engines, of an output exceeding 375 kVA
  • Wind-powered electric generating sets
  • Electric generating sets
  • Electric rotary converters
  • Lithium primary cells and primary batteries
  • Air-zinc primary cells and primary batteries
  • Parts of primary cells and primary batteries
  • Parts of storage batteries, including separators therefor, other than parts of lead-acid storage batteries

— With assistance by Brianna Jackson