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The Big Switch

Are Batteries the New Oil? 

Season 4, Episode 1

Batteries are at the center of the clean energy economy. Will they shape geopolitics in similar ways to oil?

We need to electrify much of the global economy in order to hit net-zero emissions by 2050. That means installing a lot of batteries in our cars, buildings, and across the grid to balance vast amounts of wind and solar.

The supply chain behind all those batteries could be worth nearly half a trillion dollars by 2030. Whoever controls that supply chain has enormous power – figuratively and literally. 

In this episode, we explore the stakes of the battery-based transition. We’ll open up a lithium-ion battery, investigate what’s inside it, and ask whether critical minerals will look anything like oil.


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