This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization dips to 84.7%

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This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization fell to 84.7% last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported; meanwhile, Glencore signed a cobalt supply deal with Britishvolt; and, lastly, the Department of Energy released a brief on investment in solar energy.

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Steel capacity utilization drops to 84.7%

steelmaking in an EAF

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U.S. steel capacity utilization dipped to 84.7% for the week ending Aug. 14, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported, down from 84.8% the previous week.

Steel output last week totaled 1.87 million net tons. Furthermore, output increased by 26.6% year over year from last year’s 1.48 million net tons.

For the year through Aug. 14, U.S steel production totaled 58.3 million net tons. Capacity utilization during the year-to-date period reached 80.3%.

Glencore, Britishvolt reach cobalt supply deal

Miner Glencore announced it has signed a cobalt supply deal with Britishvolt.

“Glencore is pleased to announce that it has entered a long-term strategic partnership for the supply of responsibly sourced cobalt with Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in lithium-ion battery cell technologies and associated R&D,” the firm said in a release today.

“The partnership represents a major milestone for Britishvolt on its quest to assist vehicle OEMs on their roadmap to electrification. By securing one of the key battery ingredients from the Glencore cobalt brands, Britishvolt is significantly derisking its operation by obtaining long-term security of supply across its business.”

DoE on investing in solar energy

The Department of Energy (DoE) released a brief in which it overviews how investment in solar energy can help the U.S. reach its clean-energy and emissions goals.

“Solar will play an important role in reaching President Biden’s 2035 clean electricity goal – alongside other important clean energy sources, including onshore and offshore wind power, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen, as well as keeping our nuclear fleet online,” the Department of Energy argued. “The strategic energy investments proposed by President Biden will support the rapid deployment of solar and help the United States build a zero-carbon and resilient clean energy system.”

In addition, U.S. solar capacity has jumped from 2.5 gigawatts in 2010 to over 100 gigawatts today, the DoE added.

“According to preliminary results of an upcoming NREL analysis, to reach a largely decarbonized grid by 2035, solar deployment would need to accelerate to three to four times faster than its current rate by 2030,” the DoE said. “That could move solar from 3 percent of generation today to over 40 percent by 2035.”

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