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China's supply of critical raw materials: Risks for Europe's solar and wind industries?

Wiebke Rabe, Genia Kostka and Karen Smith Stegen

Energy Policy, 2017, vol. 101, issue C, 692-699

Abstract: This article examines the dependence of the European Union's solar and wind industries on Chinese supply of five critical raw materials: tellurium, gallium, indium, and the rare earths neodymium and dysprosium. Based partly on interviews with experts, this study reviews China's industrial policies that shape the supply of these materials abroad. We also assess the short- and long-term strategies of the European Union and European solar and wind industries to ameliorate potential supply bottlenecks. While these strategies adequately address short-term challenges, we find they pose several long-term risks, such as increasing the dependence on China and hampering European competitiveness in global markets. There is also divergence in the extent to which these two industries are vulnerable to supply bottlenecks and price volatility; because more options are open to them, European solar manufacturers are less exposed to these risks than their counterparts in the offshore wind sector.

Keywords: Critical raw materials; Renewable energies; European energy security; China; Industrial policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.09.019

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