This week, something like an epiphany that happened to analysts at the Interna-tional Monetary Fund was released : in its study, which can be roughly translated as Energy Transition Metals, the Fund was surprised to find that the key metals for the so-called energy transition will soon jump in price to unprecedented heights. The study deals in particular with copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium. Although in fact this is a narrow view of things. Of course, the trends found in the study will be reflected in other metals as well. And not only on metals.
The game of the situation is that for more than one or two years in a row, liberal-progressives, with the full support of the world financial capital, are driving humanity into the stall of the future “green paradise”. But at the same time, so far no one has bothered to present not only generalized economic calculations of the implementation of a green energy transition, there are not even deep studies of its individual components. And after all, calculations are not made, not so much because of the impossibility of carrying them out, but because of the obviousness of the results, which lie in the failure of an idea based on the current technological platform.
It seems surprising that the main financial institution of the planet still dared to touch on this problem? Taking into account the specific conclusions made as a result, this is just not surprising. The IMF offers the standard: you have to be patient. They say, yes, by 2030 the prices for the metals under study will rise, but then everything will be fine.
So the IMF found that the energy transition requires significant amounts of metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium. And they wondered: are these metals a key bottleneck in the energy transition?
Quite quickly, the authors of the study find the answer to this question: yes, damn it, they are! Prices for these metals “will reach historic highs in an unprecedentedly short timeframe in a zero-emissions scenario.” Consumption of these four will rise very seriously: from plus 60% for copper to more than 20 times for lithium.
The authors expect that the need for batteries will increase from 0.16 terawatt-hours in 2020 to 14 terawatt-hours in 2050 (that is, almost a hundred times). At the same time, 86 percent of the car park will be driven by electricity.
As a result, prices for cobalt, lithium and nickel will rise by several hundred percent by 2030 compared to the 2020 average. Note, at a level that is already significantly higher than the prices for these metals, which took place before the implementation of the green transition idea. However, the uncertainty ranges in the study suggest that, for example, the price of cobalt may rise not just by several hundred percent, but 15 times!
The authors expect the growth of copper prices until 2030 at a much more moderate level of 60%. However, in this assessment, the fact that copper has already chosen a 60% rise in price – this year very strongly casts doubt on it.
It is worth adding that, when assessing future price increases, the authors abstracted themselves from factors such as inflation, the impact on prices of general economic development, population growth, and so on. We are talking about the soaring prices associated exclusively with the energy transition and calculated in 2020 dollars.
Moreover, it is obvious that the study did not take into account the ups and downs associated with a possible rise in the cost of energy during the transition itself. Energy required, including for the extraction and production of the metals in question.
Meanwhile, this year has clearly demonstrated what jumps in prices for raw materials can lead to even a very, very partial refusal to use coal.
In addition, the study did not take into account other materials, without which energy transfer is impossible and the consumption of which will also inevitably increase significantly. For example, graphite, vanadium, aluminum and many others.
It would seem that even from the obtained results of a rather narrow study, an obvious conclusion should have followed: it is too expensive, and therefore it is practically impossible on the existing technological platform. For now, anyway.
But no. The authors conclude that the total production of the four metals under study will rise to $ 13 trillion over 20 years, up from $ 3 trillion in 1999-2018.
At the same time, very conservative estimates of the growth in prices for these metals are taken into account. And these 13 trillion will be comparable to the cost of the oil produced – in the framework of the “zero scenario” for CO2 emissions by 2050, according to the authors, it will decrease from $ 42 trillion in 1999-2018 to 13 trillion in 2021-2040.
Moreover, for some reason, the study makes, to put it mildly, an unobvious conclusion that after 2030 the prices for copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium will stop growing. And therefore, they say, you need to be patient – to transfer money for the energy transition from the sphere of hydrocarbon production, and the trick is in the bag. That is, the main thing is to get involved in a fight, and then somehow it will be.
In fact, the conclusion of a seemingly serious study turned out to be anecdotal. Or rather, absolutely custom-made, aimed at further pushing the green agenda.
However, the study itself should be thought provoking.
Including those countries in whose territory there are deposits of four investigated metals. It is quite possible that these fields will be needed in the very near future, let’s say, by the world leaders of the green energy transition.
And, finally, a few words about the energy transition itself in its practical plane. Mining Bitcoin alone today costs the planet 121 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. This exceeds the energy consumption of countries such as the Netherlands, Argentina or the UAE. And until the mighty of this world, the greens they rule, and other crowd of liberal progressives are not fighting this phenomenon (which is a waste of energy, most of which is extracted on Earth from fossil fuels), to talk about the seriousness of the goals of the energy transition associated with with carbon neutrality, stabilization of the temperature of the planet Earth, and so on, it is possible only with a very big stretch. Everything is not what it seems.