Energy is essential for development. Across the globe around 1.3 billion people continue to live without access to electricity, equivalent to about 18% of the global population. Nearly 97% of those without access to electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia. Giving everyone access will require strong growth in energy supply. Global energy demand is set to grow by 37% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).1

Steel is critical for supplying the world with energy- whether based on fossil fuels, nuclear technology or forms of renewable energy- steel is indispensable in producing and distributing energy. Steel also has an important role to play in improving the efficiency of these energy sources.

Steel in Renewable Energy

● Solar: Steel plays a key role in converting solar energy into electricity or hot water. It is used as a base for solar thermal-panels and in pumps, tanks and heat exchangers.

● Wave and tidal: The steel pile is the main component of a tidal turbine in tidal energy systems. Steel is also used to fabricate wave energy devices. The steel used is formulated to withstand the challenges of the marine environment.

● Hydroelectric: Steel is needed to reinforce concrete dams.

● Wind: Steel is the main material used in onshore and off-shore wind turbines. Almost every component of a wind turbine is made of steel, from the foundation, to the tower, gears and casings.

Steel in Nuclear and Fossil Fuel-Based Energy:

● Equipment for oil and gas extraction and production

● Natural gas and oil pipelines and storage tanks

● Power plants

Steel in the Production and Distribution of Electricity:

● Transformers (magnetic steel core)

● Generators and electric motors

● Power distribution pylons and steel-reinforced cables.

Energy Transport and Distribution:

● Ships, trucks and trains used to transport fuel. Click here to learn more about the use of steel in transportation.


1. International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2014, page 1,'central scenario'.

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