TSKB Economic Research Focuses on Energy Transition in New Edition of Ecosystem Review

25 March 2024
- 3 min. Read

The 14th edition of “Ecosystem Review,” prepared by TSKB Economic Research, delves into the energy transition through the lens of the ecosystem crisis. The report sheds light on the ecosystem crisis implications of the lifespans of renewable energy sources, emphasizing the need to broaden our focus beyond emissions alone in the energy revolution.

The latest edition of the “Ecosystem Review” report, published by the TSKB Economic Research team, delves into the energy transition within the context of the ecosystem crisis. The report underscores the importance of recycling billions of tons of waste expected to accumulate at the end of the lifespan of renewable energy plants, initiated as early as the 1990s, as a crucial step towards maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The report highlights the potential for recycling solar panels, wind turbines, and lithium-ion batteries, essential components in the energy transition, at the end of their lifespan. It suggests that recycling, rather than remanufacturing, could yield recycled raw materials capable of producing up to 2 billion new solar panels by 2050.

The “Ecosystem Review” report underscores the significance of critical minerals as vital inputs for installing renewable energy power plants, highlighting the concern that the supply of these minerals may not match the projected demand, expected to triple by 2040. Additionally, the report notes that the production processes of these minerals, which typically take an average of 16 years from discovery to extraction, could potentially harm the ecosystem. The report emphasizes the importance of prioritizing production with limited resources and urges consideration of the ecological impact of existing clean energy technologies like solar, wind, and batteries.

Other notable highlights from the report, outlining the impressions of the TSKB Economic Research team, include the following:

• In 2023, electric vehicles represented 17% of total global sales for light vehicles. The significant sales volume, totaling around 14 million units, underscores the importance of battery production, an area that remains relatively unfamiliar to many consumers.

• As the significance of solar and wind power plants grows in a landscape marked by escalating net-zero targets and decarbonization efforts, it becomes increasingly crucial to contemplate the environmental impact of mining the minerals essential for these plants.

• By 2050, the waste generated from wind turbine blades, known for their challenging recycling process, is projected to hit 12 billion tons globally, while lithium-ion battery waste is forecasted to reach 11 million tons by 2030. The improper recycling of toxic substances like cadmium, arsenic, and silicon in panel cells leads to the accumulation of chemical waste, posing a threat to the ecosystem, soil fertility, and groundwater quality.

• In 2023, there was a 4% annual growth in debt issuance by companies and governments to finance the energy transition, reaching USD 824 billion.

• In February, Japan launched the world’s first climate transition sovereign bond issue, aiming to support its objective of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

• In 2023, global investments in clean energy surged to USD 1.8 trillion, marking a 17% annual increase.

• In January, Türkiye experienced above-average rainfall with 17.7 millimeters above seasonal norms, but February saw a contrasting trend with rainfall dipping to 25.3 millimeters below seasonal norms.

• The study offers current insights into various ecosystem-related developments worldwide, covering a spectrum of topics from farmer protests in the European Union to climate hearings involving fossil fuel producers. It delves into key agenda items spanning environmental issues, economic trends, industrial advancements, and trade policies across different regions.

You can access the full report here.