The Role Of Critical Minerals In The Clean Energy Transition

By Paul Homewood


Back in May, the IEA published an analysis on the role of critical minerals on the clean energy transition:




Minerals are essential components in many of today’s rapidly growing clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles. Demand for these minerals will grow quickly as clean energy transitions gather pace. This new World Energy Outlook Special Report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the complex links between these minerals and the prospects for a secure, rapid transformation of the energy sector.
Alongside a wealth of detail on mineral demand prospects under different technology and policy assumptions, it examines whether today’s mineral investments can meet the needs of a swiftly changing energy sector. It considers the task ahead to promote responsible and sustainable development of mineral resources, and offers vital insights for policy makers, including six key IEA recommendations for a new, comprehensive approach to mineral security.


The salient points follow:










None of this new of course, but it is useful to have it all in one place, and from the horse’s mouth.

The raw material cost ratio for batteries is particularly useful to know, accounting for 50 to 70% of battery costs. Perfectly credible projections suggest lithium and cobalt prices could rise tenfold by 2030, which would mean the total battery cost could could rise by 500% or more. At this level, electric cars will simply be unaffordable for most drivers, even if economies of scale drive down manufacturing costs.

That is assuming enough EVs are even produced to meet demand. The IEA forecast that only half of demand for lithium and cobalt will be met by 2030. With long development lead times, this shortfall appears to be baked in.

Demand for critical minerals will carry on rising exponentially long after 2030, which after all only marks the beginning of this clean energy transition. It is hard to see the position not being much worse by 2040, by when the IEA expect demand for lithium and cobalt will be 42 and 21 times current levels respectively.

Yet western leaders are blindly ploughing on with their green agenda, seemingly oblivious to the cliff edge facing us.


November 10, 2021 at 05:36AM

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