This week, IER is releasing a new report on mining and the green energy supply chain, The Economic and Strategic Importance of Domestic Mineral Production: Unlocking the Value of America’s Homegrown Mineral Resources. So-called green energy, including wind, solar and batteries, is hugely mineral intensive. For example, a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, mainly due to the battery module; and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant.
Since 2010 the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables in new investment has risen. These mineral inputs have to come from somewhere.
Today, China and Chinese state-back companies dominate the mining and processing of all the main mineral inputs needed for the forced energy transition envisioned by the Biden administration. Thus, this transition is transitioning the United States from domestically produced oil, natural gas and coal toward dependence on imported green energy. A transition from energy security to energy dependence. At the peak 2001, the US imported 23% of our oil from the Middle East and that was seen as a national security crisis. Today, we import more than 50% of all the main green mineral inputs from China alone.
As the report covers, even as the administration pushes to subsidize and mandate green energy sources dependent on Chinese supply chains, it simultaneously is preventing the development of mining capacity domestically that could help reduce this dependence on China. It would be hard to design a system which more deliberately undermines America’s energy security.
The Economic and Strategic Importance of Domestic Mineral Production
Last week, I testified before the House Ways and Means Committee regarding China’s dominance of green energy supply chains, citing this new report among other sources. This dominance means that the vast subsidies passed last year by Congress will end up in the pockets of Chinese state-backed companies and the Communist Party itself. Green energy is truly Made in China.
Additional coverage from IER on China’s control of green energy
Biden Wants to Fund Critical Mining Projects Abroad, Not in U.S.
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