Quebec has high hopes of becoming a player in the global lithium market with Hydro-Québec moving into the battery-storage industry, but experts say the challenges are immense and the province’s track record doesn’t bode well.
On Wednesday, Hydro-Québec announced plans to design and sell lithium iron phosphate batteries. The public utility aims to sell large numbers of the industrial energy storage units to transmission providers, distributors and other power producers.
Hydro-Québec says the global lithium iron phosphate battery market could generate $3-billion in sales a year by 2030, and the utility hopes to gain about 10-per-cent market share.
Hydro’s research centre has developed many promising technologies over the years, but so far the utility hasn’t achieved large-scale commercial success on any.
Joe Lowry, founder of Global Lithium LLC, which advises industry, governments and investors, is skeptical that Hydro Québec’s battery technology will be a gamechanger based on the province’s track record in the lithium industry.
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