Covid-19 has underscored the need to monitor the security of mineral supply for a clean energy future
IEA (2020), Clean energy progress after the Covid-19 crisis will need reliable supplies of critical minerals, IEA, Paris
Clean energy technologies generally require more minerals than their fossil fuel-based counterparts. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in this May 2020 report, an electric car uses five times more minerals than a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires eight times more minerals than a gas-fired plant of the same capacity.
Since 2015, electric transport and grid storage have quickly become the largest consumers of lithium, together accounting for 35% of total demand today. Likewise, the share of these applications in cobalt demand has risen from 5% to almost 25% over the same period.
Such rapid growth has put strains on supply, as evidenced by the five-fold increase in cobalt prices between 2016 and early 2018. Although supply has responded, the volatility of prices in recent years has been a wake-up call for companies and governments in terms of the importance of reliable mineral supplies for clean energy transitions.
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many countries entering lockdown, impacting mining operations across the globe. The risks to clean energy supply chains, including the need for more resilient and diversified mineral supply chains, have come into sharper focus.
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