June 6, 2022 · less than 3 min read
Saving the planet isn’t going to be easy – and it certainly isn’t going to be cheap.
Clean energy in crisis
High prices. They’re getting to be a bit of a joke, right? Groceries are getting more expensive with each weekly Walmart trip, and gas prices are at record highs. But there’s more bad news, and it’s bigger than your sales slip. The cost of saving the earth seems to be climbing, too.
Though tech prices have actually fallen steadily throughout the last decade thanks to innovation, increased efficiency and economies of scale, material costs are on the up. Many essential clean energy technologies rely on specific materials – namely minerals and metals – and due to supply chain problems and rising demand, prices are skyrocketing.
Take lithium, for example. Its price rose 738% between January 2021 and March 2022, while cobalt has seen a price increase of 156%. Others, like copper, nickel, and aluminium have also increased in price by between 25-40%.
The raw materials that are getting more expensive are crucial for expanding our use of renewable energy, and protecting our planet from further harm. But such severe price hikes make it increasingly tough to make the economic case for the clean energy transition. And relying on goodwill alone isn’t exactly a viable option these days, is it?
The volume of suppliers is also making things worse, with new challenges thrown up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As one of the top producers of palladium and uranium, along with other in-demand materials, Putin holds a bit of a trump card. And that’s never good.
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