Green Energy Mandates Spell Permanent US Energy Dependence on China

February 3, 2022 Updated: February 7, 2022

Commentary

In the White House’s cattle drive to herd U.S. investors into green energy corporate boondoggles—and out of plentiful, cheap energy—lots of truth has fallen onto the cutting room floor.

Take, for example, the trendy government-driven frenzy of green energy investment politics. Much of it is driven by the fallacy that “Green Energy” mandates are merely another exciting “investment choice.” Yet green energy is an ideological crusade to radically alter society—and very much not based on sound or proven supply-and-demand dynamics that investors should care about most.

Widely held assumptions now driving investment momentum into green tech are understandable. After all, Treasury and Federal Reserve officials have gone all out to revamp capital markets and regulatory initiatives to (1) bolster politically favored “green” energy companies and (2) wreck private energy companies as an investment option.

Take the Fed’s and European Central Bank’s jihad to artificially induce capital starvation in gasoline and natural gas investment. We’ve seen this script before—Nixon-era price controls crushed U.S. energy investment … and the resulting oil production curtailment, in turn, precipitated the OPEC embargo in the 1970s’ epic fuel crisis.

Unfortunately, policymakers don’t appear to grasp certain hard realities that come with mandating massive fleets of “all-electric” cars and gigantic electric grid batteries. It must all be powered by lithium. Lots of lithium.

First, Beijing holds the high cards in global lithium mining and production—the rare, uber-light reflective substance that’s central to all known green battery technologies. There are no known substitutes for lithium due to its unique conductivity and reflective properties. Lithium mining is severely restricted in the West, and there are only a limited number of up-for-grabs international sources.

It seems unlikely the left will ever permit massive new lithium mining. Already the Biden administration is further restricting U.S. mining operations.

As the West’s little understood lithium supply dilemma deepens, it’s no wonder China’s rulers treasure their lithium dominance as a highly prized national gemstone and as a state strategic weapon.

The threat to Taiwan is far better understood. But China’s drive to dominate global supplies of civilization-supporting strategic minerals is also behind Beijing’s escalations to evict Biden’s incredible shrinking U.S. Navy from the South China Sea—and vast swaths of adjacent international waters. China is poised to annex these vast international seabeds teeming with industrial and tech metals.

And the White House’s many media allies studiously ignore just how half-baked current green energy technology truly is. For example, today’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries are 40 times less dense in terms of energy output than the energy stored in an equal physical volume of petrol.

Real Clear Energy notes, “For direct comparability in performance, the car battery has to be forty times bigger in volume than your car’s gas tank.”

Think about that! To get the same range and performance you get from a normal tank of inexpensive gasoline, the super-costly modern lithium battery system powering your car would have to be 40 times larger than your gas tank!

No wonder the International Energy Agency projects that aggressive global mining of green energy minerals must happen in order to implement all-electric car mandates.

European Union central planners have also mandated millions of battery-powered cars—even though there isn’t a single active lithium mining operation among their 27 member nations.

The Wood MacKenzie Mining Group packs this entire issue into one quote, “The [green] energy transition starts and ends with metals.”

Already the London Metal Exchange notes that lithium prices are soaring to unprecedented levels—as car makers snatch up every kilogram of lithium hydroxide. As one industry observer spilled in an obscure trade publication, “This trend is threatening the EV revolution.”

While U.S. bureaucratic potentates may excel at “hide-it-from-the-people” power grabs—even they can’t conjure up enough lithium to power massive electric fleets of cars, trains, buses, and the national power grid—no matter how many decrees they issue.

Energy is the real world and they are not.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Lee Bellinger is the editor and publisher of Off-Grid Confidential, a private financial advisory newsletter that leverages Bellinger’s years of experience as a Washington insider to provide unique insights into government, major industry, and other macroeconomic trends. To discover how to get his proprietary research in the paid newsletter service, go to Off-Grid Confidential.