Monthly Renewables MMI® Down As US Places Import Duties on Overseas GOES

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The firm retained to conduct the energy modeling for the Australia’s Abbott government’s review of its Renewable Energy Target believes that the amount of wind farms and other large scale installations to be built by 2020 could be slashed by nearly half, and still be described as a 20 percent target.


In Africa, renewable energy capacity is expected to quadruple to about 120 gigawatts by 2030 if investors dedicate “substantial flows” of funds to the region, the International Renewable Energy Agency said.

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Africa’s renewable energy capacity in 2012 was 30.5 gigawatts, most from hydroelectric power plants, alongside conventional generation capacity of about 110 gigawatts, according to the International Reneweable Energy Association’s figures. Twelve southern African countries from Angola to South Africa generate about 80 percent of their electricity from coal, and states on the east of the continent from Libya and Egypt to Kenya produce about 60 percent of their power from natural gas, IRENA said.

All of these stories impact demand for renewables such as neodymium and silicon, but they really pale in comparison to the market effect of initial duties that the US Dept. of Commerce placed this week on imports of grain-oriented electrical steel. GOES is steel manufactured for use in transformers and power transmission.

GOES is key to transmission of every type of energy, no matter how it’s created, and an important ingredient in modernizing electrical grids in the US and elsewhere. The list of countries and companies facing ongoing import duties reads like a veritable who’s who of international steel production with China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG and Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal all facing new duties. This will, of course, be a boon for domestic US GOES manufacturers AK Steel and ATI who originally petitioned the government for tariffs, but whether they’ll be able to keep up with US demand, keeping domestic prices down, is another story, entirely. Final determinations by Commerce on the import duties are scheduled for July and September.

The monthly Renewables MMI® registered a value of 64 in April, a decrease of 1.5 percent from 65 in March.

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Last month, neodymium prices dropped by 2.4 percent to $66,304 per metric ton. US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) decreased by 1.5 percent this month, ending at $2,921 per short ton. Chinese steel plate closed the month at $615.11 per metric ton after dropping 0.8 percent. US steel plate prices decreased by 0.6 percent this month, ending at $821.00 per short ton.

Silicon gained 0.7 percent to finish the month at $2,277 per metric ton.

Last month was consistent for Chinese cobalt cathodes, which did not move from $32,593 per metric ton. Hovering around $870.91 per metric ton for the month, Korean steel plate remained unchanged. At a price of $743.46 per metric ton, Japanese steel plate did not budge the entire month.

The Renewables MMI® collects and weights 8 metal price points used extensively within the renewable energy industry to provide a unique view into renewable energy metal price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Renewables MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.


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