Electric batteries will need uranium and coal power for years to come, says analyst
Battery technology may be rapidly improving — but modern energy storage solutions will need to operate alongside traditional energy sources for years to come, a top energy expert analyst has told investors.
“At the moment, there is no battery that will economically store energy from the summer that you can use in winter,” Breakaway Research senior analyst Mike Harrowell told a standing-room-only opening session at the RIU Sydney Resources Round Up on Tuesday.
“The goal is to reduce carbon loading – not necessarily eliminate it entirely and that is often over-looked by the market,” Mr Harrowell said.
“The question arises, when it is dark in the German winter and the wind turbines are frozen solid – where is the power going to come from?
“At the end of the day there needs to be a fuel source that is not weather-dependent.”
Coal and uranium would be key, while renewables would be a minor contributor for some years at least.
Mr Harrowell also cautioned investors on the green credentials of battery and electric car technologies that have been driving investment in metals such as lithium, cobalt and copper.
By 2040, more than half of new car sales and a third of the global car fleet will be electric, predicts Bloomberg New Energy finance. “Falling battery prices will bring price-competitive electric vehicles to all major light-duty vehicle segments before 2030.”
But the electric car revolution would bring a new breed of toxic waste, Mr Harrowell said.
“The implications of the electric vehicle boom are to shift the waste from where the vehicle is operating to where its inputs were made.
“They generate three times as much toxic rubbish as a conventional car because we still are working on how to recycle a lithium battery.”
Still, the battery materials boom was real and presented a generational change in the global energy economy.
The consequences of a generational shift in the energy economy were inflationary, and costs would be be borne by current energy consumers. For instance, when a battery was powering a device, a second battery usually needed to be recharging.
Junior miners the likes of Cazaly Resources (ASX:CAZ), Berkut Minerals (ASX:BMT) and POZ Minerals (ASX:POZ) kicked off the first day of talks at the Resources Round-Up on Tuesday – with more than 60 ASX-listed resources companies to present across three days.
The conference — which Stockhead supports as official media partner — kicked off on Tuesday and runs until Thursday May 10.