Needed for every electric vehicle
By David Boleneus, MBA, MS, Geologist
I am very much acquainted with demands of materials for EVs and renewables, a subject long investigated for lectures, and as my career is, and continues in mining geology, project costing and mining engineering.
Using data recently published by US Geological Survey and World Bank, it is now clear that conversion to electric transportation is impossible. We seem to be going the EV way but not a single conversation considers materials supply. The reasons preventing this are high demand for metals (listed), for which a supply does not exist. What supply is available is small in EV terms and much is in Russia and China or Chinese controlled mines in places like the Congo that uses forced child labor. The factor of supply/demand will dictate cost with cost rising to a level that is first unaffordable following by an inability to find, acquire materials with which to manufacture the EVs. The barrier to EVs is the supply of materials which does not exist. Metals and materials are finite and the demands to build EVs far exceeds the supply. EVs will fail because of the need for materials exceeding the world’s supply, including those supplies as yet unmined, and undiscovered.
THE EXAMPLE I USED TO COMMUNICATE WAS THE GIGANTIC, ALMOST UNIMAGINABLE DEMAND FOR COPPER if one must shift to renewables or EVs.
The copper demand for EVs requires the US to open 12 new copper mines the size of the Berkeley mine (Butte Montana) every 30 years to provide the necessary supply. The Berkeley Mine at Butte is famously known as the richest hill on earth for its content of copper, molybdenum, gold and silver. Its resource has only been touched so far, as mining continues and vast resources remain underground, untapped and wasted.
POWERING EVS IS ANOTHER ISSUE
Powering EVs is another issue, as Larry Andrews discusses in the HVAC arena. Electricity demanded cannot be provided as current thinking requires us to move to renewables with fossil fuel power ending and soon. Only EVs can be sold beginning 2030 in WA. This is a plan for failure, a second one. The US needs 25% more electricity for EVs but going all-out on renewables will result in 50% less than current supply.
Renewables, as I have written and well proved by Bonneville Power’s record with wind turbines in Washington cannot provide full time electricity and their cost becomes prohibitive as percentage of renewable-only supply surpasses those from fossil fuels. Of course, we have fossil fuels, but Biden and the Left want this left in the ground. A rule of thumb that is repeated which I have verified for several countries is this. Each additional kilowatt hour of capacity added from renewables per person adds $0.20 per kilowatt-hour to electric bills. For this very reason Ontario’s electric bills skyrocketed to $0.36/kwhr in 8 years after the province demolished their coal power and built solar and wind.
A THIRD REASON FOR FAILURE IS THE BIDEN ADMIN. IS PURSUING ALL ACTIONS POSSIBLE TO PREVENT MINING of the most important metals to build renewable systems that might supply electricity.
Biden, as the flyer (below) shows succeeded in cancelling a mine permit for a mine that could have provided cobalt and copper (think batteries and electric motors) in Minnesota and Biden is expending all possible efforts to stop mine plants at two copper mines planned in Alaska and Arizona. Biden’s actions are contradictory, saying they want renewables, not fossil fuels, yet preventing the raw materials that might assist the US to provide the necessary supplies for renewables.
Here in Washington and Oregon, the Cascade Mountains contain huge supplies of copper and molybdenum to assist with renewable wind and solar but permitting of these resources have been repeatedly blocked. Elsewhere the copper deposits are within wilderness or national forest or within sight of Puget Sound, while the Puget Sound crowd are most vehement about switching to renewables. Maria Cantrell was most vociferous in preventing a gold mine permit in Okanogan County and later threatened to transfer federal lands from national forest to wilderness to prevent a company’s evaluation of copper resource in the Cascades. Washington is perhaps the most unfriendly place in the world to mines.
Other facts provided from World Bank data assisted in cost estimating of renewable systems, is the cost per megawatt in materials to build solar or wind turbines or batteries or carbon. All are immensely larger but thousands of times larger than the cost of coal or natural gas. The costs are simply far beyond unreasonable. With such a large demand for electricity to power EVs and the need for supplies to build solar and wind shows quite clearly that renewables are far from “clean.” What the public does not see is that the dirty parts, and their gargantuan footprint are located out of sight, on the opposite side of the globe.
To end here, I wrote a piece a couple months back (which I can provide) for CAPR organization’s spring banquet, a group that concentrates on private property rights in Washington legislation. Entitled Our State Colliding with Climate Insanity I made several points, but I want to close with Washington’s electric supply, the lack of it and what will remain by 2030 after electricity-ending legislation (ending coal, perhaps natural gas, demolish Snake River dams, adding wind or solar that cannot replace reliable sources) takes full effect. The electricity supply outlawed, compared to that available today is 27% less or 38% less if the Snake River dams are lost.
The replacement planned is of course wind and solar, that will cost 5 times to 10 times more than current supply and be unavailable 25%-75% of the time (depending on fossil-nuclear-renewable mix). The time of worry for customers, as stated by Avista planners is wintertime when heating is needed but will be unavailable during long periods of calm, overcast, cold that comes late December, through January when solar and wind will not function. Avista says that with the State’s plan that 50% of customers should expect to be in blackout conditions for any 10-day period in winter. The Bonneville Power Admin’s wind record well demonstrates the same.
Taking these factors in combination is promise for social anxiety, even dysfunction coupled with economic destruction if Washington maintains it current course. When Washington is broken who will pick up the pieces, China, Russia, Al Gore, Left-in-Waiting, G7/Club of Rome? On the bright side we can avoid Joe Biden’s existential threat from climate, easily proven as just plain stupidity.