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Rare earths: wind power industry NOT a major user

31.10.2011

28 October 2011

The misperception that Europe's wind power industry is a major user of  rare earth metals can now be laid to rest. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has now published its "Report on Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies", clearly showing that the European wind industry is not a significant user of rare earths.

"The share of the neodymium and dysprosium that will be used by the European wind power sector in the 2020-2030 timeframe would remain 1% of world supply were realistic supply assumptions used", said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) today in Brussels.

The JRC report correctly identifies the increasing use of permanent magnet generators in wind turbines. The main materials used in these magnets are rare earth oxides, mainly neodymium and dysprosium.

The report states:
 
•     Neodymium - in 2020 the European wind industry will use between 326 and 635 tonnes, equivalent to between 1.8% and 3.5% of world's 2010 supply, and in 2030 will use between 192 and 730 tonnes, which is between 1.1% and 4.0% of world's 2010 supply.

•     Dysprosium - in 2020 the European wind industry will use 22 and 44 tonnes, equivalent to between 1.9% and 3.6% of world's 2010 supply, and in 2030 will use between 13 and 50 tonnes, which is between 1.1% and 4.2% of world's 2010 supply.

The major shortcoming of the report is the assumption that supply of the rare metals will not increase beyond 2010 levels, despite future supply scenarios being publicly available.
EWEA research shows the European wind industry would use 0.81% of world supply of neodymium in 2020, 0.95% of world supply of dysprosium in 2020, and 0.35% of world supply of neodymium in 2030 and 0.41% of world supply of dysprosium in 2030.

Please find a detailed EWEA response to the Joint Research Center here.

The JRC Report on Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies can be found here.


For more information contact:
Peter Sennekamp, EWEA
[email protected]
+32 2 213 18 33
 

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