OPINION: Russia Can Hold Nickel Hostage – by Allysia Finley (Wall Street Journal – March 14, 2022)


When Republicans talk about securing America’s “energy independence,” they mean pumping more oil. When Democrats do, they mean consuming less oil. President Biden said last week that the war in Ukraine is a reminder that “we need to become energy independent” and “should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy.”

The left’s climate policies would render the U.S. more, not less, vulnerable to potentially hostile dictators. Last week’s surge in nickel prices offered a preview of the dangers of relying too much on renewables.

Russia supplies about 20% of the world’s class 1 nickel, which is at least 99.8% pure. It is used mainly in stainless steel but is also a critical element in batteries, including those used in electric vehicles. More advanced electric-car batteries that store more energy need more nickel.

There’s been a world-wide high-grade nickel shortage for the past couple of years, which is going to get worse as electric-car production increases to meet government mandates. “Nickel is our biggest concern for scaling lithium-ion cell production,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted in February 2021.

For the rest of this column: https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-can-hold-nickel-hostage-metals-mining-environment-china-class-domestic-electric-vehicles-11647287911