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We Have No Bananas Today

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Nevelyn Black's picture
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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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  • Dec 31, 2022
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This week, the DOE proposed new energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers to improve grid resiliency, lower bills and reduce CO2 emissions. These transformers lower the voltage of electrical power before distribution to the customer.   Nearly all the transformers produced on the new standard would feature amorphous steel cores, which are more energy efficient but also in high demand and short supply.

In fact, Sriracha, lumber, computer chips, gas and electrical transformers are all on the list of items in short supply due to the pandemic.  The price of gas skyrocketed early on and according to Forbes, the price of lumber increased 375 percent from April 2020 to April 2021.  

The shortage of lumber and electrical transformers is crippling new home construction projects.  According to the Edison Electric Institute, a survey by American Public Power Association showed that members were having to wait an average of one year for new transformers that in the past, only took three months.  "It isn't just locally or statewide, it's happening nationally," said John Bitely, President of Sable Homes. "So, it is a real problem."  

It may become a problem in California where the California Energy Commission (CEC) estimates a need for 1.8 million new homes by 2025.  The CEC recently released its California Building Decarbonization Assessment to ensure the state reduces at least 40 percent below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for existing and new residential and commercial buildings by 2030.  Energy efficiency is also becoming a selling point for real estate agents.  By providing a cost comparison sheet to potential buyers, realtors are assisting eco-friendly clients.

A limited supply of transformers and wiring could also inhibit the DOE’s latest proposal.  “Efficient distribution transformers enhance the resilience of our nation’s energy grid and make it possible to deliver affordable electrical power to consumers in every corner of America. By modernizing their energy-conservation standards, we’re ensuring that this critical component of our electricity system operates as efficiently and inexpensively as possible,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

As the pandemic winds down, some products and services will ramp back up.  Let’s hope Sriracha and electrical transformers are among them.
 

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