Coalition pushes Senate for $1.2 billion for the grid

January 4, 2024, 12:10PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A coalition of energy and grid industry associations led by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today requested $1.2 billion in repurposed supplemental funding in upcoming negotiations on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for Distribution Transformer and Grid Components.

The coalition sent a letter to Senate leadership that encourages continued bipartisan cooperation to expand and strengthen grid capacity and boost the supply chain for distribution transformers.

Supporters: The American Public Power Association (APPA), Edison Electric Institute, GridWise Alliance, Leading Builders of America, National Association of Homebuilders, and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association joined NEMA in outlining how funds would assist the Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office in helping manufacturers bolster the domestic production of distribution transformers.

Background: Last July, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed language that includes $1.2 billion in repurposed supplemental funding for the DOE’s Office of Electricity and the Grid Deployment Office to bolster the transformer and critical grid component supply chain. The provision would boost workforce support along with financial, procurement, and technical assistance, according to the coalition. The letter emphasizes that the investment language should remain in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations final bill. Passage of the bill would ensure that domestic manufacturers are able to increase capacity to meet existing orders while providing greater certainty to end users of critical grid components, the coalition noted.

They said it: “Our nation is facing a distribution transformer shortage and backlog of more than two years,” said Debra Phillips, NEMA president and chief executive officer. “This funding will help ensure that these and other critical grid components are more readily available so that community resilience is not jeopardized and the country’s energy transition does not stall.”

Scott Corwin, APPA president and CEO, added, “In the electric utility industry reliability is paramount. For over two years we’ve been sounding the alarm on the supply chain issue. Public power utilities need solutions here to ensure grid reliability, and this critical funding represents a step in the right direction.”

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