The new economy based on alternative energy will require a lot of copper [right, credit Freeport McMoRan]. So, between that and the recovering economy, copper prices today hit their all time high on the New York exchange for a second day in a row, reaching over $4.30 per pound before closing down only slightly. This year copper prices are up 29%.
Jim Burnell at the Colorado Geological Survey shared with me some of the facts, figures, and claims on copper usage that he presented at the recent Northwest Mining Association's annual convention in Spokane. Here are a few tidbits (with sources in parentheses):
Twice as much copper in the wiring/motor of a hybrid vehicle than in a standard gasoline engine vehicle. (this is an oft-repeated anecdote. Does anyone have a reference for this?)Some analysts are predicting the price to surpass $5 this year or next.
8295 kg Cu in a 2.4 MW wind turbine system. (International Copper Study Group)
(update: corrected from "mW", 12-29-10, 09:15. Thanks Justin for spotting this)
US goal to generate at least 80 GW of electricity using wind by 2030 (US-DOE) will require 270,000 tonnes Cu by the ICSG figures
China targets 330 GW from wind by 2020 (Beijing Rare Earth Summit) – that’s 1,223,000 tonnes Cu
20% of China’s growth in copper use will be from green energy applications (International Copper Association – China)