Copper can’t be mined fast enough to electrify the US – by Morgan Sherburne (Michigan News – May 15, 2024)


Copper cannot be mined quickly enough to keep up with current U.S. policy guidelines to transition the country’s electricity and vehicle infrastructure to renewable energy, according to a University of Michigan study.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in 2022, calls for 100% of cars manufactured to be electric vehicles by 2035. But an electric vehicle requires three to five times as much copper as an internal combustion engine vehicle—not to mention the copper required for upgrades to the electric grid.

“A normal Honda Accord needs about 40 pounds of copper. The same battery electric Honda Accord needs almost 200 pounds of copper. Onshore wind turbines require about 10 tons of copper, and in offshore wind turbines, that amount can more than double,” said Adam Simon, U-M professor of earth and environmental studies. “We show in the paper that the amount of copper needed is essentially impossible for mining companies to produce.”

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