Trade & Industry Development Magazine:
“Readying Supply Chains for the Coming Energy Revolution”
Published on March 29, 2023 | Written by PLG Consulting’s Chris Bonura
Even 40 years ago, pop culture understood that the way we power transportation would ultimately have to change. In the coda to the 1985 movie Back to the Future, Doc Brown opens a fusion hatch on his time-traveling DeLorean to refuel it with trash. Today, we’re on the cusp of a transportation fuel breakthrough, even if we’re not yet refueling at the garbage can.
As the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and other government policies are spurring electric vehicles and green fuels to scale up quickly, there is an urgent need to build new supply chains. Cities, states, and companies that excel in solving these logistics challenges will gain lasting advantages over competitors who don’t.
To illustrate the new supply chains’ challenges, consider the primary ingredients for EV batteries. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2040 it will take six times more mineral inputs (such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt) than produced today. All that product will be transported from mine to processing facility to battery plant.
Today, much of the supply of energy transition minerals travel long distances — ironically, creating their own carbon footprint. Australia, Chile, and China, the top three producers of lithium, accounted for 90% of production in 2021, the World Economic Forum says. The US accounted for only 1%.
The IRA tax credits are tied to the percentage of energy transition minerals sourced in the US and extracted and refined in countries that have foreign trade agreements with the US. Mining companies and EV manufacturers are gearing up for a potential shift to nearshoring. Clever economic development officials will leverage their transportation and industrial development assets to appeal to these companies.
To read the full Trade & Industry Development magazine article, click here.