A recent report by Wood Mackenzie shows that solar power will drive demand for aluminum, copper and zinc; by 2040, the industry’s demand for these three metals will double.
Analysts predict that the surge in demand for renewable energy will drive the prices of aluminum, copper and zinc.
Energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie said that as governments fulfill their commitments to limit global warming, the transition to renewable energy will drive a surge in demand for base metals in the next few years.
Wood Mackenzie lists three metals as its focus: aluminum, copper and zinc.
Its senior research analyst Kamil Wlazly pointed out that declining production costs and increased production efficiency have reduced the price of solar power generation worldwide: Therefore, in many regions of the United States and other countries around the world, solar energy is cheaper than any other power generation method. As costs continue to fall, the share of solar energy in electricity supply will rise and begin to replace other forms of power generation. This provides a huge opportunity for the base metal industry.
Wood Mackenzie believes that by the end of this century, global temperatures will rise by 2.8 to 3 degrees Celsius compared to before industrialization. In this case, the solar industry’s aluminum demand will rise from 2.4 million tons last year to 4.6 million tons in 2040.
Wlazly pointed out that aluminum is normally used for solar panel frames and their structural components.
If the global temperature rise is controlled between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius, this means that by 2040, the solar industry’s demand for aluminum will reach 8.5 million to 10 million tons per year.
If the global temperature rise can be controlled within 1.5 degrees Celsius, by 2040, the demand of the solar energy industry will account for 12.6% of the total global aluminum demand, much higher than the 3% in 2020.
Wood Mackenzie said the solar industry will also drive demand for copper used in high and low voltage transmission cables and solar collectors.
The report predicts that the copper demand generated by the solar industry will rise from 400,000 tons last year to 700,000 tons in 2040.
If the global temperature rise is controlled within 2 degrees Celsius, the copper demand in the solar energy industry will increase to 1.3 million tons by 2040.
If the global temperature rise can be controlled within 1.5 degrees Celsius, then in the next 20 years, the industry’s copper consumption will jump to 1.6 million tons per year.
At the same time, zinc coating can provide a cost-effective and longer-lasting anti-corrosion protection layer for structural components of solar panels.
Wood Mackenzie said that the current global annual zinc consumption is about 400,000 tons.
If global temperature rises by 2.8 to 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, global zinc demand is expected to increase to 800,000 tons in 2040.
If the global temperature rise is controlled within 2 degrees Celsius, by 2040, zinc demand will increase to 1.7 million tons per year.
If the global temperature rise can be controlled within 1.5 degrees Celsius, by 2040, zinc demand will increase to 2.1 million tons per year.
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