Mineral Foundations of the Energy Transition

Implications of energy transition on increased demand for minerals and the impacts on markets, trade, security, communities, geopolitics, prices, and technology development

Dr. Morgan Bazilian – congressional testimony to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the United States Senate -September 17, 2019

The current energy transformations now occurring globally—towards increased electrification, and low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles, fuel cells, wind turbines and solar photovoltaics (PV) rely on significant quantities of minerals and metals. The implications of increasing mineral demand has broad ramifications that go well beyond the energy and extractives sector.

Background

Calls for a Green New Deal and energy transition are coming from many global stakeholders. Less understood are the significant quantities of minerals that will be needed to fuel that transition.  Examples include the rare earths neodymium and dysprosium for magnets in high-efficiency motors; lithium, cobalt, nickel and vanadium in energy storage; and platinum-group elements in catalysts and fuel cells. To supply the necessary minerals the mining industry is confronted with numerous challenges related to environment, innovation, investment, social license to operate among others.

Additionally, (or most) of the countries with the largest potentials (and existing markets) for these minerals are emerging and developing economies. This creates further concerns around governance and a changing geopolitical landscape. How this changing demand affects markets, trade, security, geopolitics, prices, and technology development are key questions to that require further exploration.

As one of the leading energy engineering universities in the world, Colorado School of Mines and the Payne Institute is facilitating an integrated approach to the technical and policy challenges related to the mineral foundations of the energy transition.  Through research and collaboration with industry, government and other stakeholders, Mines is providing research and data to support decision-making and further consideration of the topic.

NEWS

THE DOWNSIDE OF SOLAR ENERGY

As renewable energy expands, used photovoltaic panels are creating a growing waste problem—but recycling could be the answer. December 1, 2019.

Please join in the Critical Minerals dialogue with Payne Director Morgan Bazilian on the Our Energy Policy.org website. If the future of the critical minerals market is not addressed with effective policy and innovation it could negatively impact the economic and national security of the United States. November 4, 2019.

FOUR SCENARIOS OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION: DRIVERS, CONSEQUENCES, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR GEOPOLITICS        

This opinion article offers insights into the geopolitics of the ongoing global energy transition. In doing so, it draws heavily on a workshop in Berlin in late 2018, and a subsequent paper in the journal Nature. Four scenarios are presented. By comparing and contrasting the different scenarios, the article highlights the potential winners and losers of the different scenarios, and the geopolitical consequences. It also sketches the implications for policy, theory, and scenario thinking more broadly. November 3, 2019.

 

This opinion article offers insights into the geopolitics of the ongoing global energy transition. In doing so, it draws heavily on a workshop in Berlin in late 2018, and a subsequent paper in the journal Nature. Four scenarios are presented. By comparing and contrasting the different scenarios, the article highlights the potential winners and losers of the different scenarios, and the geopolitical consequences. It also sketches the implications for policy, theory, and scenario thinking more broadly. November 3, 2019.

MORGAN BAZILIAN EDITS THE ENERGY STRATEGY REVIEWS SPECIAL ISSUE TITLED THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Payne Institute’s Director Morgan Bazilian was honored to edit the Energy Strategy Reviews new special issue titled “The Geopolitics of the Energy Transition.”  November 2019.

MORGAN BAZILIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ENERGY STRATEGY REVIEWS SPECIAL ISSUE ON THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION

The global energy landscape is changing dramatically. High levels of uncertainty inherent in the system, as well as the enormous impacts energy has on development, security, the environment, the economy, and geopolitics, all provide the impetus for this Special Issue of Energy Strategy Reviews. November 2019.

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For more information about the Mineral Foundations of the Energy Transition Initiative at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, please contact our Strategy and Operations Manager, Greg Clough, at gclough@mines.edu.