Raw materials are an essential part of both high tech products and every-day consumer products, such as mobile phones, thin layer photovoltaics, Lithium-ion batteries, fibre optic cable, synthetic fuels, among others. But their availability is increasingly under pressure according to a report published today by an expert group chaired by the European Commission. In this first ever overview on the state of access to raw materials in the EU, the experts label a selection of 14 raw materials as “critical” out of 41 minerals and metals analysed. The growing demand for raw materials is driven by the growth of developing economies and new emerging technologies. The list was established in the framework of the 2008 EU Raw Materials Initiative1 in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders. The results of the report will be used for the drafting of a forthcoming communication on strategies to ensure access to raw materials which the Commission will publish in autumn 2010.
The Spanish plan centres on giving preferential access to the wholesale electricity market for power plants that run on domestic coal, and was announced by the government in February, after months of behind-the-scenes tussling with Brussels.
At the same time, the Spanish government wants to retroactively cut previously agreed tariffs for its €20bn photovoltaic solar energy sector by 30 per cent. As FTfm reports, such a move could be devastating for investors in highly-leveraged solar photovoltaic projects.
Millions of householders will face a hosepipe ban from Friday, a utility company has confirmed.
United Utilities, which supplies water to north-west England, said the measure will help “safeguard essential supplies”.
Water levels in many reservoirs and lakes have plummeted to less than half their capacity due to the region’s driest start to the year since 1929.