In Biden’s July 9th speech in Pennsylvania, he embarked on his “Build Back Better” campaign that includes retooling and revitalizing American manufacturers. But, in his speech, he did not mention that he will be using foreign, not domestic, energy sources and supplies. His campaign against U.S. oil and natural gas production will result in a new dependence on foreign oil and his push for “green energy” will also require massive imports from abroad. The United States imports about 80 percent of the electrical components (i.e., materials other than the concrete, steel, and fiberglass) used in wind turbines and over 90 percent of U.S. solar panels. And even if solar panels were made here, the U.S. produces only 10 percent of the world’s silicon material, while China produces half.
Few Americans realize that the rare earth metals used in wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles overwhelming come from foreign countries. “Green energy” is foreign energy. The quantities of materials needed to manufacture green technologies, many of them “critical minerals,” from cobalt and lithium, to neodymium and dysprosium are enormous. Replacing technologies powered by U.S. fuels with renewable technologies entails, on average, using ten times more primary materials for the same energy output.
Electric vehicle battery production is dependent on cobalt and 60 percent of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where child labor accounts for one-fifth of the production. Chinese companies control over half of the cobalt mined in the Congo. Russia, with cobalt reserves at 250,000 metric tons could become a large exporter, adding cobalt as an important commodity to the oil and natural gas it already exports and for which it competes for production rank with the United States. If full battery capacity is achieved for electric vehicles, demand for cobalt could increase fourfold, increasing to 219,679 metric tons by 2023 and 276,401 metric tons by 2028—a 26 percent increase in 5 years. As a result, manufacturers of electric cars could struggle in the future to secure a sufficient supply of cobalt, and Chinese and Russian companies would be the source of much of it.
Today, wind and solar supply less than 4 percent of our nation’s energy, while fossil fuels supply 80 percent. While almost all the fossil fuels we use are produced domestically or could be, nearly all of the “energy materials” needed for politically correct renewable technologies are produced abroad. And, as mentioned, many of them come from problematic places such as Russia and China.
The United States is 100 percent dependent on imports for around 17 key minerals and supplies less than half its requirements for another 28. As recently as 1990, the United States was the world’s number one producer of minerals, but it is in seventh place today because of environmental requirements placed on opening new mines, which China and Russia do not follow.
All politically correct renewable technologies require minerals obtained almost entirely overseas, much of it from countries that are overtly or covertly hostile to our own with labor and environmental practices that are not permitted in the United States. Americans need to realize this dependence on foreign sources that battery-powered electric vehicles and solar and wind farms would place on future generations—it would mean dramatically increased energy dependencies. This at a time when the United States has finally become energy independent, through the work and investment of Americans.
Biden’s $700 billion in investments in his “Build Back Better” campaign are government spending programs, relying on the federal government and not market forces to revive the economy. If Biden is elected and has a similarly minded Congress, companies will have no time to recover from the pandemic before being faced with crippling legislation and higher taxes, and the United States would become much more dependent on foreign sources for our energy.