Shortages Are Causing Another Energy Crisis
As green policies heighten demand for transformers, American distributors are unable to keep up.
Analysis from The Wall Street Journal. Empty dirt lots are scattered across American cities where developers once planned to build new homes. The problem isn’t that builders can’t find workers or obtain permits. They lack the electric transformers required to connect homes to the grid. …
Thank President Biden’s green-energy policies, which are increasing demand for transformers and the specialized electrical steel to manufacturer them while creating enormous market uncertainty. The lack of transformers is exacerbating the country’s housing shortage and causing longer and more-frequent power outages.
Broadly speaking, there are two categories of transformer. Large power transformers, which are located at substations and weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds, step up voltage from power generators and step it down for distribution. …
Smaller distribution transformers step down voltage to levels that homes and businesses can safely use. These are necessary for connecting homes, businesses and electric-vehicle charging stations to the grid. Until recently, they were easy to obtain and replace but wait times now exceed 18 months. …
The U.S. is increasingly relying on imported transformers, including from China, which presents cybersecurity risks. …
Demand for transformers is growing worldwide as low-income countries develop their power grids and wealthier ones go green. The U.S. now finds itself in the difficult position of having to compete with other countries for transformers and electrical steel at the same time as the Inflation Reduction Act subsidies supercharge demand.
But forget about building out the grid. We can’t even maintain the one we have. An Energy Department report last year warned that most large power transformers will soon need to be replaced. The average age is 40 years, and normal life expectancy under ideal conditions is 20 years. Aging transformers “cause higher failure risk,” the report notes. …
The Biden administration plans ensure that such problems can and will get worse. The Energy Department in January proposed efficiency standards for distribution transformers that would require an “amorphous steel” not readily available in the U.S. Climate activists lobbied for the new standards because they say more-efficient transformers will reduce power losses and the need for fossil-fuel generation.
That’s debatable. What isn’t is that the standards “would upend the market and manufacturing process” for electrical equipment, as automakers, utilities and home builders noted in a May 22 letter to Mr. Biden. As a result, “plans to expand domestic steel capacity and manufacturing of critical electrical equipment, such as transformers, are now in flux.” …
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Some verses to keep in mind while considering this topic:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7).
(Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal. Photo Credit: Canva)
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