Brian Lentz, CPG
Principal & Vice President
As we enter a new decade, we are faced with a variety of scientiﬁc and environmental challenges. The demand for a safer and cleaner environment coupled with population growth presents society with obstacles on a scale we haven’t faced before. One of our deﬁning problems is a rapidly warming climate; a consequence of enormous increases in emissions, especially carbon. Any complex problem requires equally complex solutions – one of these complex solutions is green energy.
Green energy technology presents innovative ways of thinking about our global economies and social environments to understand the way businesses and people interact with the environment and with one another. But the cornerstone of green energy and the ability to use it rests upon the availability of minerals. Simply put, green energy is driving an unprecedented demand for minerals… and this demand is just getting warmed-up.
A Rising Tide Of Global Demand
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “estimates for the global capacity of solar photovolatics will be greater than the current power capacity of India and Japan combined within five years…(which) brings demand for minerals in the technology, including aluminum, cadmium, copper, gallium, indium, iron, lead, nickel, silica, silver, tellurium, tin and zinc.”
As Big Rock highlighted in our article, “Nickel At The Nexus” from Explore & Discover Issue #7, metals such as nickel are becoming a driving force behind green energy feasibility and economics.
In addition to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, energy storage technologies are a substantial component to reaching a low-carbon future. The energy storage landscape for automobiles in particular is changing rapidly. New technologies to improve energy efficiency all require increased energy storage capacity.
The increased market penetration for electric vehicles is predicted to only grow more rapidly, therefore lithium-ion battery technology is likely the only viable candidate for EVs because of its high energy-density-to-weight ratio. Several key minerals comprise the lithium-ion battery, however as composition changes to improve efficiency and energy density, nickel will play one of the most crucial roles in battery chemistries used to power electric vehicles.
Focused On Solutions Of The Future
Numerous indicators, such as a special report from The Economist in March 2018, raise the issue that “America produces few of the commodities it needs” in order to meet the growing demand for green energy and to reach the global scale for emissions-reduction targets.
This has sparked an international conversation about the substantial impacts to global supply of the minerals needed for clean energy production. Riccardo Puliti, Sr. Director and Head of Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice at the World Bank predicts, “Countries with capacity and infrastructure to supply the minerals and metals required for cleaner technologies have a unique opportunity to grow their economies if they develop their mining sectors in a sustainable way.”
This discussion is finally moving beyond the political corners of pro-mining vs. pro-environment. Minerals are a critical part of our response to climate change. They are a pivotal resource driving the revolutionary green energy movement and ultimately will propel the world toward a green energy economy.
Why Minerals Are The Future
“Minerals are a critical part of our response to climate change. They are a pivotal resource driving the revolutionary green energy movement; and ultimately how mining and minerals will propel the green energy economy across the world.”
Brian Lentz, Principal & Vice President