Widespread worry over the future of green technology has taken hold following news that China is set to tighten the limits on the production and export of rare earth metals. Chinese officials have recently tried to allay fears that China, the producer of more than 90 percent of rare earth metals, is hoarding supplies to drive up short-term prices. Meanwhile, stateside experts have begun debating how green business could change now that metals vital to the manufacture of hybrid-car batteries and wind turbines could be in short supply.
- China's Growing Power, Alex Pasternack advises green companies in his article for TreeHugger.com. “As worldwide demand for rare earths is also expected to grow 10 percent a year, the prospect of strict Chinese control over them could mean a reorientation of how businesses around the world, especially those in green technology, operate.”
- Wind Energy Remains Safe, according to Charles Morand from AltEnergyStocks.com. Although utility scale wind turbines use more than 500 pounds of neodymium, Morand says “the wind industry is in a position to bear substantial cost increases in [rare earth metals] before the overall economics of wind projects are affected.”
- Scarcity Drives Innovation, is earth2tech author Josie Garthwaite’s hope. Looking back to 2008, Garthwaite recalls how thin-film solar gained in popularity when polysilicon shortages pounded the photovoltaic industry. “Innovators working around commodities like neodymium could find a window of opportunity in a [rare earth metals] crunch.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.