World Bank in push to ensure clean supply chains for renewables

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The World Bank: A 2°C-consistent PV roll-out would demand 300% more silver and others (Credit: Pixabay)

The World Bank has unveiled a multi-million scheme to minimise the impacts from a global rush for mineral resources, expected as renewables surge to become a core part of the energy mix.

Over the next five years, a US$50 million pot will be invested to promote a sustainable supply chain for lithium, graphite and the other minerals and metals powering fast-growing PV, wind and battery storage.

Structured as a multi-donor trust, the so-called Climate-Smart Mining Facility will finance mineral recycling across the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the other key global sources for these commodities.

The scheme will promote renewable-powered mines across developing states, an approach already witnessed in South Africa and others. Funding will also be made available for mining projects fighting deforestation and ensuring land is used sustainably.

A world with 965% more appetite for lithium

The World Bank’s push follows its own predictions two years back for a huge surge in the demand for lithium (965%), cobalt (585%), graphite (383%) and others by 2050, sparked by a boom of low-carbon technologies.

Wind power, for one, is poised to jump by 63% between 2017 (515GW) and 2023 (839GW). According to the World Bank, a single 3MW turbine will require 1,200 tonnes of concrete, 335 of steel, 4.7 of copper, 3 of aluminium, 2 of rare earth elements and unspecified amounts of zinc and molybdenum.

Solar PV won’t be impact-free, either. The industry’s well-documented growth trajectory is set to continue, hitting additions of 575GW by 2023. A PV roll-out consistent with a 2°C global warming scenario would push up the industry’s demand for silver, aluminium and others by around 300% by 2050, according to the World Bank’s forecasts of 2017.

For battery energy storage, the institution’s estimates at the time were that the jump in appetite for lithium and other commodities would reach 1,000-1,200% under the same scenario. Speaking this week, the World Bank adopted a similar line as it said uptake across electric vehicles and power grids mean batteries will be “ubiquitous” and demand significant volumes of minerals.

However, the forecast contains a caveat. As the World Bank has noted, the future market for energy storage is the hardest to predict and demand for commodities will be ultimately dictated by how widespread storage systems end up becoming, the choice of technologies and other factors.

See here for more information on the new facility and here for a glance at World Bank's estimates

Read Next

April 28, 2021
Array Technologies has secured a contract for up to 4GW of trackers from specialty contracting company Primoris Services.
April 28, 2021
Enphase Energy beat its revenue guidance in Q1 2021 as the microinverter supplier got off to a strong start to 2021, however an ongoing semiconductor shortage has weighed heavy on guidance for the rest of the year.
April 27, 2021
Tesla’s residential solar growth has continued into Q1 2021, but CEO Elon Musk has confessed to encountering major issues in roof assessments which have stymied installs of its Solar Roof product.
April 8, 2021
Green hydrogen may become cheaper than natural gas by 2050, falling by 85% over the next 30 years, but declining costs in the solar sector will be crucial for the nascent technology's growth.
April 6, 2021
Japanese power company J-Power is to convert a retired coal plant in the US into a 240MW solar-plus-storage facility through its local subsidiary.
April 6, 2021
Manufacturers of solar glass are expecting average selling prices to fall over the course of 2021 as more capacity comes onstream, but high prices last year helped send profits soaring.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
May 11, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021