Dave Elliott: Some worry that there will be resource constraints on the expansion of renewables, with the emphasis often put on the large material requirements, e.g. for steel, aluminum and copper. However, a full life-cycle resource analysis has suggested that renewables could supply the world’s entire electricity needs by mid-century without major problems with resource (materials) use or associated eco-impacts. It assessed the whole-life costs and materials souring impacts of solar, wind, hydro, in relation to the demand for aluminum, copper, nickel and steel, metallurgical grade silicon, flat glass, zinc and clinker. The overall conclusion was that ‘bulk material requirements appear manageable but not negligible compared with the current production rates for these materials. Copper is the only material covered in our analysis for which supply may be a concern’. Issues still remain for concrete, although there are lower carbon versions emerging.
Renew Extra 11th Jan 2020 read more »