Posted on September 7, 2021 by Rich Powell
This op-ed was originally published by the Washington Examiner on September 7, 2021. Click here to read the entire piece.
There is an important consequence of the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan that has gone underreported: This regime now controls the nation’s massive deposits of rare earth elements and critical minerals.
These coveted resources, such as the lithium that some are banking on to fuel the global transition to clean energy, could be worth $1 trillion. And China is making a serious play to access them. Every energy transition and climate model calls for more grid-scale energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries are the fastest-growing storage technology around the planet.
Scaling up energy storage is an absolute necessity for America’s clean energy future. To get there, we can continue the status quo, moving forward on lithium-ion batteries with materials from places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Afghanistan. Or we can choose a second, clearer path: pursuing energy innovation that liberates us from relying on hostile regimes for crucial supply chains.
Lithium-ion batteries, no doubt, will remain a big part of our lives since we use them in cellphones, laptops, and electric vehicles. But as we increase variable renewable resources such as wind and solar in our energy grid, we will need long-duration, grid-scale storage to provide power and ensure reliability when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Supply chains dominated by China have already created challenges, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of critical mineral demands for grid-scale batteries.
Click here to read the full article