Lead battery industry adds $28bn to US economy a year

A study released on February 1 claims the US lead battery manufacturing and recycling industries produced a $28 billion economic benefit for the US economy in 2016 and employed more than 20,000, with a broader impact of nearly 95,000 jobs.

Employees who enter the lead battery industry, including many high school graduates, can expect higher than average salaries of more than $83,000 for recycling and mining positions, while manufacturing employees see similarly high salaries — averaging more than $62,000, says the report.

The Economic Contribution of the US Lead Battery Industry by the Economic Development Research Group, commissioned by BCI through its arm Essential Energy Everyday, said employees earned a total of $6 billion a year in the industry.

The increasing demand for energy storage in renewable energy facilities, as well as lead batteries’ essential uses in the nation’s infrastructure that encompasses transport, logistics, communications and critical back-up power, produced a direct economic output of $11.2 billion from battery manufacture and recycling, the report said.

“Our industry is proud of its contribution to the national economy and role as a provider of green manufacturing jobs,” said BCI president Jeff Elder. “Compared to many other private industry sectors, salaries in the lead battery industry are 59% higher for mining and recycling workers, and 19% higher for manufacturing workers. These jobs assure a foothold to the middle class in an era when manufacturing jobs are in decline.

“As demand for renewable energy increases, the need for sustainable and cost-effective energy storage increases as well. The lead battery industry’s circular economy helps create an extremely sustainable, environmentally friendly form of energy storage that produces significant economic benefits for the communities where we operate.”

In a different study, Lead-acid Battery Market Size, Growth, Trends and 2022 Forecasts, research firm Technavio said that globally the industry would register revenue of more than $65 billion between 2018 and 2022.

It said the increasing focus of governments on legalizing battery recycling and improving efficiency was helping to drive growth, along with the increasing deployment of microgrids.

“The resilience to natural calamities and the ability to provide power even during main grid failure will drive the need for lead-acid batteries in microgrids,” said the report. “With the major portion of the remote and rural areas across the globe without access to electricity the deployment of microgrids will increase in the coming years, which will subsequently fuel the growth of the lead-acid battery market.”

However one factor hindering the growth of the lead-acid battery industry was the declining price of lithium-ion batteries, the report said.