WHAT TO KNOW: A new analysis estimates that more lithium is available for extraction than previously thought, an essential material for batteries that store clean energy, power electric vehicles, and more.
SACRAMENTO – Lithium Valley is on track to become one of the world’s largest sources of lithium, positioning California to be a global hub for battery production and a leader in securing a clean energy future.
A new report led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimates that there’s even more lithium available than previously thought, with up to 18 million metric tons that can be extracted. It could produce more than 3,400 kilotons of lithium, enough to support over 375 million batteries for electric vehicles (EV) – which is more than the total number of vehicles currently on U.S. roads.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “We’ve been all-in on Lithium Valley, building up a global hub for clean energy and making sure that local communities benefit from this once-in-a-generation opportunity. This is further evidence that California is poised to become the world’s largest source of batteries for our cars, homes, and businesses.”
Before this report, experts believed that Lithium Valley could provide enough lithium to meet all of America’s future demand and more than one-third of global demand – supercharging the transition to EVs.
Governor Newsom’s Lithium Valley Vision positions the state to become a global leader in the deployment of new technologies and environmental protections that can sustainably coproduce lithium with renewable electricity from geothermal power plants. Lithium is extracted as part of clean, geothermal power production – and is the greenest process in the world
HOW WE GOT HERE:
- In March, Governor Newsom visited Lithium Valley as part of his State of the State tour – highlighting its importance to the world’s clean energy future and how local communities will be prioritized.
- Last year, Governor Newsom joined President Biden and community, labor, and industry leaders to outline historic progress on sustainably developing lithium resources.
- Governor Newsom signed legislation directing $5 million to Imperial County to support Lithium Valley, and signed the Lithium Extraction Tax Law – ensuring that communities are benefited by lithium extraction and are a significant part of the growing industry.
- Since 2017, California has awarded more than $27 million to nearly 20 research projects to advance innovations for lithium recovery from geothermal brines, the processing of manufacturing grade lithium, and the efficient use of lithium in batteries, as well as other related research, planning and development efforts.
- In a crucial milestone toward making California a global leader in the production of lithium, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California (Lithium Valley Commission) submitted its report of findings and recommendations to the state Legislature in December 2022. The report recommends accelerating transmission planning, improving permitting, and securing funding for infrastructure investments and economic development incentives to support industry growth and job training.
- California aims to produce lithium in a more sustainable and environmentally safe way than nearly anywhere else in the world, by relying on modern extraction techniques rather than harmful hard rock mining or other traditional tools of extraction.