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Surging Copper Demand Will Complicate the Clean Energy Boom

Demand for the metal used in solar panels, wind turbines and power lines will far outstrip supply, says research firm BloombergNEF.  

EV Charging Station Manufacture at Parus Electro LLC
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

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Copper is one of the essential elements of today’s economy, and tomorrow’s. It’s in the turbines and solar modules that generate electrons, the transmission and distribution lines that carry electricity to consumers, the home wiring that delivers it to dishwashers and iPhones, and the motors that move everything from elevators to electric bicycles.