The Lithium-ion Battery Shortage: Will It Threaten the EV Megatrend?
Electrification is the megatrend for the energy sector. Utilities are gearing up for a surge in electric vehicles and the deployment of massive electric fleets, like those of Amazon. New York State legislators have just agreed to a budget that includes committing the state to 100-percent electric school buses by 2035.
Likewise, advanced batteries are the storage system favored by utilities and microgrids. The electric future is close - or is it?
This surge forward, driven by environmental concerns and the desire to go green quickly, faces one ominous hurdle: the lithium-ion battery and its precarious supply chain. While electrification of everything is cheered everywhere, there appears to be danger in depending on the lithium-ion battery as none of the principal components are sourced in the United States.
Lithium is in such demand that the price has risen nearly 500 percent in one year, and Elon Musk has hinted at getting into lithium mining. Sixty percent of the cobalt in today’s batteries comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nickel is sourced in Indonesia and some islands. Copper is more widely sourced, but Chile is the largest producer.
Already, electrification has been slowed in the car industry by the chip shortage. Will a battery shortage impede it further?
These questions and more will be addressed in this briefing, which will consist of a panel of experts taking questions from a panel of knowledgeable journalists. USEA Acting Executive Director Sheila Hollis will give opening remarks. Llewellyn King, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and broadcaster, organized this briefing and will moderate.
The general audience can submit questions using the Zoom Q&A function, but members of the media will be given preference. A recording will be made available after the briefing.
John Howes, Principal, Redland Energy Group
Stephanie Shaw, Technical Executive, EPRI
Ned Mamula, Economic Geologist and Author
Eric Dresselhuys, CEO, ESS Inc.
Scott Aaronson, Senior VP, Security and Preparedness, Edison Electric Institute
Ken Silverstein, Forbes
Herman Trabish, Utility Dive
Peter Behr, E&E News
Linda Gasparello, White House Chronicle