NCEW Recap: American Energy Independence and Critical Minerals

As part of the 2023 National Clean Energy Week Policymakers Symposium, Jeremy Furr of Stryten Energy, Christopher Minardi of Nexans, Ben Steinberg of the Battery Materials and Technology Coalition, and Jeremy Harrell of ClearPath, sat down with Leila Kimbrell from the Resource Development Council for Alaska to discuss what policies are needed to strengthen American supply chains and energy independence.    

Renewable energy resources require the use of mineral-intensive technologies; many of these minerals have been deemed “critical” by the U.S. Geological Survey, noting that they are necessary to the U.S. economy and national security. The source of these critical minerals and how they are used, recycled, and reused was top of mind for the panelists during their discussion. Each panelist presented on their organizations’ work to develop a more robust critical mineral supply chain within the United States. “It’s the time to do it, not to work on it three years out when it’s a problem; it’s time to work on it now,” Jeremy Furr said.

Using these minerals to create renewable energy is only part of the issue when it comes to the supply chain; renewable energy created with these minerals must be plugged into a grid that can handle their usage. Chris Minardi elaborated: “Ultimately for us, that’s just part of the puzzle. The entire grid is really old, and it’s aging; there’s no way around it in the United States, and we need to revamp that in order to not just bring clean energy onto the grid but also to make sure that we actually decarbonize in a way that’s sustainable.” Modernizing and electrifying our grid will require a lot of minerals, necessitating a more streamlined approach to energy moving forward.  

“As we look to massively scale up clean energy in this country as a whole there is no 100 percent consensus areas. So we have to work through the challenging environmental factors and we need to balance the key issues ahead,” Jeremy Harrell said. Some key issues impacting our capacity to scale up clean energy include the permitting process, sourcing of our materials, and creating a recycling process. Although these issues will be challenging to solve, the payoff will create a more secure and reliable grid. 

Watch the full discussion here. To see other panels from National Clean Energy Week, like and subscribe on YouTube.   

CRES Forum is the lead convener and a proud sponsor of National Clean Energy Week. 

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