OECD Development Policy Papers

The OECD Strategy on Development aims to strengthen the Organisation’s contributions to inclusive and sustainable growth in a wide array of countries. It draws on OECD’s evidence-based approaches, policy dialogue and knowledge sharing to improve policy making and economic reform. This strategy identifies four interlinked thematic areas: innovative and sustainable sources of growth; mobilisation of resources for development; governance for sustainable development; and measuring progress for development. Designed for a wide readership, the OECD Development Policy Papers are intended to stimulate discussion and analysis on these topics.

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Integrating renewables in mining

Review of business models and policy implications

Mining activities are energy-intensive and rely largely on fossil fuels to meet their energy demands. This exposes the mining sector to potential policy and regulatory risks, stemming from government efforts to shift the global economy to a low-emission development pathway, as envisaged by the Paris Agreement. At the same time, renewables have become an increasingly cost-competitive source of power generation. This has resulted in a business case for the adoption of solar and wind energy solutions in the mining sector, to reduce costs as well as carbon footprint of operations. The sector’s energy transition also presents an opportunity for resource-rich countries, including developing economies, to foster the synergistic development of higher value added domestic activities in the renewable energy sector. The shift of the mining industry to low-carbon energy has the potential to contribute to advancing the climate and sustainable development agenda, while also pursuing economic diversification objectives. However, the integration of new technologies into conventional power systems comes with risks and challenges. This paper aims to enhance the understanding of the key drivers for, and obstacles to, renewable energy integration in mining operations, based on a review of over 30 existing projects worldwide. The analysis identifies a need for an enabling policy environment, encompassing among others a competitive energy market structure and adequate energy infrastructure, to overcome current challenges and support the synergies between the development of the mining and renewable energy sectors.


Keywords: mining, carbon dioxide emissions, photovoltaic energy, sustainable development, energy transition, renewable energy, wind power
JEL: Q32: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation / Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development; Q42: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Energy / Alternative Energy Sources; L72: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction / Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
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