Rising prices for minerals and metals may compromise energy transition

2022/06/08 Agirre Ruiz de Arkaute, Aitziber - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Ed. Ulrike Leone/Pixabay

In recent decades, the prices of renewable energy technologies, especially photovoltaics and batteries, have been steadily declining – and this facilitated, to some extent, the energy transition. The International Energy Agency, however, is concerned about the rising price of minerals and metals in recent times and the fear that this will jeopardise the energy transition.

According to the Agency, the problems of the global supply chain, rising commodity prices and the difficult geopolitical situation in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict are the main reason for the promotion. Serious effects: Lithium and cobalt grow more than 100%, nickel and aluminum between 25-40%. All these metals are needed to form the cathodes of lithium batteries. So, although these metals so far accounted for 5% of the total battery price, they now account for 20%. This has led to an increase in the price of electric vehicles. Similarly, it will affect other energy sources: In 2021 prices for wind turbines and solar panels increased by 9% and 16% respectively, and are expected to rise by 2022.

The International Energy Agency warns that this price increase will increase the need to finance the transition to cleaner energy, making the process difficult.