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Copper said key to renewable energy

Keywords: Tags  copper, american resources policy network, clean energy, everdeen mason

NEW YORK — Copper demand will increase as the renewable energy sector expands, according to the American Resources Policy Network (ARPN).

"Copper is the key to renewable energy," ARPN president Daniel McGroarty said in a statement. "Whether you’re talking about electric vehicles, wind or solar energy technology, you’re talking about copper."

Copper has an "integral role" to play in President Obama’s climate action plan announced June 25, McGroarty said. The plan aims to cut carbon emissions further and focuses on reducing waste, cutting down on coal, and boosting renewable energy projects, such as the use of wind turbines, according to the White House website.

Every wind turbine requires about 6,000 pounds of copper in the form of cable and coil, according to ARPN.

Copper also is critical to lower-emissions transportation, ARPN said. Electric cars use double the amount of copper, mostly in wiring, than standard cars, while buses, electric trolleys and subway cars use an average of 2,000 pounds of copper each.

"Because copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, it allows us to use energy at a very high level of efficiency while minimizing environmental impact," McGroarty said.

Ensuring a steady supply of copper is critical to realizing the President’s climate action plan, according to McGroarty, who pointed out that access to domestic copper resources in the United States should increase. "We should be doing everything we can to develop America’s copper resources in a responsible and sustainable way," he said. "We can lessen our dependence on foreign nations for the copper we need to transition to a renewable energy economy."

Obama’s climate change plan has not been welcomed by all metal sectors, though. Steel and manufacturing interests maintain that the plan will raise costs and hurt business (, June 25).

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