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Supply of Steel Squeezes Utility Plans

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Julian Jackson's picture
Staff Writer, Energy Central, BrightGreen PR

Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass business and technology, cryptocurrencies, energy and the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:...

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  • May 24, 2023

A shortage of electrical steel in the US is making the upgrade of transmission infrastructure more difficult.

In addition, the lack of appropriate steel is threatening to disrupt the transition to EVs, delaying repairs to damaged equipment and slowing construction of new buildings, a group of construction, utilities and other stakeholders warned President Biden. They want him to convene an “Electrical Steel Summit” to look at ways to alleviate this supply chain crisis.

Electrical steel, including grain oriented electrical steel (GOES) and non-grain oriented electrical steel (NOES), is used in the manufacturing of transformers, transmission and distribution equipment, electric vehicle chargers, and other major infrastructure items.

The American Public Power Association and several other trade groups are urging President Biden to convene an Electrical Steel Summit that would bring together stakeholders for a strategic discussion on the current challenges to sustaining and growing domestic production of electric steel.

Besides the American Public Power Association, the utility groups include Edison Electric Institute, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Others stakeholders include the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, GridWise Alliance, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Leading Builders of America and the National Association of Home Builders.

The government's targets for upgrading infrastructure and reducing emissions are difficult enough to achieve, without additional supply chain issues. The stakeholder groups call upon Biden to “to help solve the current supply chain crisis that threatens both the national security and economic outlook for the United States and to deliver on this administration’s goals for electrification and decarbonization.”

Apparently in the USA there is now only one producer of sufficient quality electrical steel. This means that scaling up new steel production would not be quick or easy.

The groups said that “Now is the time to demonstrate leadership by prioritizing the critical importance of electrical steel and growing domestic manufacturing jobs by working with Congress to put requisite financial resources toward shoring up domestic supply. The federal government can guarantee purchase of GOES and NOES up to a defined amount, as needed by critical electrical industries, to serve a more electrified economy as well as incentivize expanded manufacturing capacity.”


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