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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Green energy may boost copper use
Power generation and automobiles account for about 7 percent of global copper demand, but a 20-percent shift in these markets to "green" alternatives could boost copper usage by up to 2.5 million tonnes by 2025, according to one industry analyst.
Per unit of power generated, some forms of renewable energy can be up to 37 times more copper intensive than conventional energy. Renewables have lower load factors than conventional energy sources so they use more copper to improve efficiency, according to Bernstein Investment Research & Management senior analyst Paul Gait. However, lack of government support and elevated copper prices could hinder copper usage in the renewable energy sector, according to Randy Butler, national sales manager for renewable energy at Southwire Co, which produces wire and cable products for wind and solar power systems. "(Renewables) will grow as long as they continue to garner support and tax incentives from Congress," Butler told Metal Bulletin sister title AMM.