Senate Energy Committee Examines Minerals Used for Clean Energy Tech

Sep 19, 2019

by ASME.org

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the sourcing and use of minerals needed for clean energy technologies this week. In her opening statement, full Committee Chairman Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) outlined the link between minerals and renewable energy technologies, the fundamental role that minerals play in modern society, and the need for strong domestic supply chains.
 
“Minerals are the fundamental building blocks for any modern technology, but they don’t just appear out of thin air,” Murkowski said. “As our energy sector transitions to greater use of renewables, we must acknowledge that these technologies are built from materials that come from the ground. Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver gallium, indium, tellurium; and wind turbines are not just built from steel, but also aluminum, copper, and rare earth elements.”
 
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, stressed the importance of establishing responsible mineral sources including mining and recycling to help ensure continued investments in clean energy. “Renewable energy sources and energy storage play growing and crucial roles in the energy sector. In fact, according to a recent report, renewable energy investments will likely exceed $2.6 trillion dollars in this decade. Electric vehicles are also expected to be a growing part of our energy future. The common denominator between all of these clean energy technologies is a handful of minerals that either occur in limited abundance or only in certain countries around the world.”
 
During the hearing, Murkowski released a report compiled by the Congressional Research Service that compares global forecasts for minerals used in renewable technologies. The report includes a list of critical minerals used in renewable energy technologies and demand projections for those critical minerals needed for wind, solar, and battery storage.  
 
To view the Congressional Research Service report, “Projected Demand for Critical Minerals Used in Solar and Wind Energy Systems and Battery Storage Technology”, visit: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=files.serve&File_id=28F0D27F-BC97-4D06-997C-0CE6FD5760C4
 
An archived webcast of the hearing is available at: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=6E657E37-F7D6-43DE-88CE-E3D2969AC3D0

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