Duke Energy announced it will remove Chinese-made batteries from Camp Lejeune due to potential cybersecurity threats.
The decision comes after warnings from U.S. officials that hackers linked to the Chinese government are targeting the U.S. power grid and other critical infrastructure.
Duke Energy installed batteries from Chinese manufacturer CATL less than a year ago. They were used to store energy generated by a solar farm on the base, near the mail gate.
The batteries were temporarily disconnected in December after concerns about potential vulnerabilities.
Duke Energy said in a statement, in part: “In partnership with policymakers and the Department of the Navy, we have made the decision to decommission the CATL battery energy storage system at Camp Lejeune and replace it with a domestic or allied nation supplier.”
Kyri Baker, a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, says the Chinese battery cells do not present serious security concerns, but the communication systems on the batteries could be vulnerable to hacking.
“Any time you have an energy asset that has the smart capabilities, it’s integrated in with a larger piece of critical infrastructure, in this case the power grid and a micro grid on a military base,” Baker said.
Duke Energy says it will phase out CATL batteries from other projects by 2027 and did not specify a new supplier of batteries moving forward.
China is a global leader in battery manufacturing and some industry experts say fully avoiding Chinese batteries could severely limit the supply needed for the deployment of battery storage systems and EVs.