Antonio Andreoni and Simon Roberts · 2022
The African Climate Foundation

Geopolitics Of Critical Minerals In Renewable Energy Supply Chains

Addressing the climate change crisis calls for an accelerated deployment of renewableenergy technologies – solar panels and wind turbines – as well as a shift towards electric vehicles (EV) (Bainton et al., 2021). The manufacturing of these technologies, however, relies on the availability and supply of different types of critical minerals. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite are crucial to battery performance, longevity and energy density. Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential for permanent magnets, which are vital for wind turbines and EV motors. Electricity networks need a huge amount of copper and aluminium, with copper being a cornerstone of all electricity-related technologies (IEA, 2021). The production of lithium and cobalt may increase by 500% by 2050 to meet clean energy demand alone. The bottom line is that clean-energy technologies and related infrastructures require more minerals (World Bank, 2017 and 2020).

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Antonio Andreoni

Antonio Andreoni
SOAS University of London

Antonio Andreoni is Professor of Development Economics at the Department of Economics, SOAS University of London. He is also Honorary Professor at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London, and Visiting Professor at the South African Research Chair in Industrial Development, University of Johannesburg. He has published extensively on production dynamics, technological change, and social conditions of innovation; structural transformation, GVCs, industrial ecosystems; financialisation and corporate governance; political economy of industrial policy; energy transition and sustainable industrial restructuring; competition policy, digitalisation, platform economy. His publications include articles in the Cambridge Journal of Regions Economy and Society, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Development and Change, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Technovation, Health Policy and Planning, Energy Policy, European Journal of Development Research and Journal of Industrial and Business Economics. His recent books include: Structural Transformation in South Africa (OUP, 2021) and From Financialisation to Innovation (CUP, 2022). Antonio is a co-Editor of the European Journal of Development Research. He has been an advisor for several international organisations including UNIDO, UNCTAD, ILO, UNDP, UN ECA, World Bank and OECD, as well as national governments in industrial policy making. Antonio holds a PhD from Cambridge University and is Life Member of Clare Hall.

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