April 6, 2021

Biden's plan to power 10M US homes with wind turbines and how it will affect copper demand

Last week, the Biden admin announced ambitious plans to increase America's offshore wind energy. Plans  include a massive wind farm off the New Jersey coast, which the White House  is already taking steps to approve. Picture: dozens of massive spinning wind  turbines in the Atlantic Ocean. President Biden's goals for this initiative:

  • 10M homes powered by wind energy by 2030
  • 77K jobs created to support building wind farms
  • 78M metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions/year avoided

Right now, the U.S. only has two wind farms (near Rhode Island and Virginia). But there are 13 offshore wind projects under federal review, including "Vineyard  Wind." If the proposal gets green-lit, 84 turbines would live off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. This month, the Biden administration took a  crucial step toward approving a review of Vineyard Wind, Americas' first large-scale offshore wind  farm.


How will this project affect copper demand?

“Due to higher copper intensity, offshore turbines will command an increasing share of copper consumption. Progressive development of larger wind turbines will increase copper intensities, providing an upside risk to copper consumption in the longer-term beyond 2024.” said Henry Salisbury, a Wood Mackenzie Research Analyst.

"Wind technology is the most copper-intensive form of power generation and is anticipated to consume the largest amount of copper over the next ten years in this sector. Governments have set out to transition from a dependency on carbon emission-intensive power to more renewable energy sources. As a result, wind and solar energy sources have become a popular technology choice.

In order to generate, transmit and distribute the energy, copper is required due to its low electrical resistivity, high conductivity, malleability and durability. As a result of the intensity of copper within wind farm projects and the increasing demand for wind energy, consumption of copper is substantial and forecast to grow significantly over the next decade.”