Concerns about the limited availability of electrical steel, a critical material for power grid equipment and electric vehicle chargers, have prompted electric utilities, home builders, and an automotive trade group to call for a summit at the White House.
In a letter addressed to President Biden and various members of his administration, the trade groups emphasized that electrical steel plays a vital role in electric motors, transformers, EV chargers, and other grid equipment due to its properties that reduce power loss.
The shortage of domestically manufactured electrical steel has become a significant challenge for utilities and others seeking to promote the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. It has also contributed to an insufficient inventory of distribution grid transformers. The letter, signed by prominent industry groups including the Edison Electric Institute and the National Association of Home Builders, stressed the impact of these shortages on supply chain challenges across multiple industries.
The trade groups urged President Biden and key government departments to recognize the criticality of electrical steel for national and economic security and prioritize actions to ensure a sustainable supply. They proposed the organization of an electrical steel summit to bring together stakeholders such as electric utilities, manufacturers, labor unions, and home builders to address the current supply chain crisis and work towards the administration's goals of electrification and decarbonization.
The letter also highlighted concerns about proposed efficiency standards for transformers by the Department of Energy, which the utility groups believe could exacerbate the existing supply shortfall. To support domestic supply and manufacturing, the industry groups called for the expansion of domestic steel capacity and manufacturing, as well as financial resources to bolster the critical importance of electrical steel.
By convening a summit and prioritizing the importance of electrical steel, the industry groups aim to address supply chain challenges, promote domestic manufacturing, and support the nation's electrification and decarbonization efforts.