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OPEC: The World Cannot Run on Renewable Energy and EVs

OPEC says extracting critical minerals have long lead times from discovery to first production and renewables aren't an efficient power source

Story By Tsvetana Paraskova |OilPrice.com| Proponents of critical minerals as the way to have a world running solely on renewables and electric vehicles are not providing the full picture as their assessments of necessary investments and the speed of the energy transition sound unrealistic, according to OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais.

Al Ghais wrote in an article published on OPEC’s website on Monday that policymakers, forecasters, and advocates of a fast energy transition need to carefully consider whether the needed investments and volumes of critical minerals supply are feasible in their net-zero scenarios.

Mining projects to extract critical minerals have long lead times from discovery to first production.

“Moreover, critical mineral mining is also an extremely energy-intensive activity that runs on hydrocarbons today. It could not function otherwise,” OPEC’s top official wrote.

Coal and natural gas are vital for processing raw critical minerals to refine them into battery-grade products ready for use in clean energy and electric vehicles (EVs).

“Petroleum-based products are also used for excavators, bulldozers, dump trucks on site, as well as various forms of transportation to move minerals from supply to demand centres,” Al Ghais said.

Oil products and other fossil fuels are also used to produce solar panels, wind turbines, and EVs.

“The oil industry, renewables, and EVs are not separate from each other. They do not work in silos,” said the head of OPEC, which reiterated its position that oil and gas cannot be removed from the global energy system and simply replaced with EVs and solar and wind power plants.

“Is it realistic to think renewables can meet the expected electricity expansion alone, particularly given the world has invested over $9.5 trillion in ‘transitioning’ over the past two decades, yet wind and solar still only supply just under 4% of the world’s energy, and EVs have a total global penetration rate of between 2% and 3%,” Al Ghais wrote.

Last month, Al Ghais said that peak oil demand is not on the horizon, blasting the International Energy Agency’s prediction that global oil demand would peak before 2030.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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