Looking at data per MW strengthens this case.
For every MW of wind power about 3.6 tonnes of copper is needed – and for every MW of photovoltaic solar capacity, about 4-5 tonnes of copper is required.
Further, roughly three times more copper is used for electric vehicles in comparison to conventional gas-powered vehicles. This alone could create a new major source of copper demand, and Schroders notes that if all 80 million new car sales were EVs today, that it would require 6 million tonnes of additional copper.
While this helps give a sense of perspective, let’s instead look at a less hypothetical case.
By 2035, Bloomberg projects a 43% penetration of EVs in the light-duty vehicle market, which will be roughly equal to 110 million cars. Using the above ratios, that’s about 3.6 million tonnes of extra copper demand – equal to about 15% of the current market.
Despite more copper being needed for green applications, there are some questions around where this new metal may come from.
Copper projects are notoriously large-scale in size, and the pipeline of new projects is the lowest in a century. As a result, analysts are expecting that the long-anticipated supply crunch might come sooner than expected.