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ICYMI: Rubio on Fixing Florida’s Energy Transformer Shortage
Fixing Florida’s Energy-Transformer Crisis
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
August 2, 2022
…[T]he United States is experiencing more and more grid failures. Those failures come from multiple causes,…[but] it’s all made worse by our dependence on far-flung supply chains.
The U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its large power transformers. Twenty percent of those come from East Asia and Europe, which are now struggling to deliver products…. The result is a scarcity of energy grid supplies––and greater risk for Americans.
The risk is especially high in Florida, where exposure to tropical storms increases the likelihood of power loss. In 2018, Hurricane Michael…knocked out electricity to millions across the Southeast…. Fortunately, Florida utilities were prepared for the devastation back then. Today,…[e]lectric utilities across the country, including here in Florida, scramble to find reliable sources of transformers and other grid components….
Cooperative and municipal utilities are taking steps to alleviate the short-term shortages, but they can only do so much…. The shortages are also affecting newly built communities, which are unable to go online because of the lack of transformers.
Our current troubles show how foolish we were to offshore production of critical industries to unstable or hostile nations halfway across the world…. To change course, I’ve introduced legislation to establish a new loan-guarantee program that would provide $8 billion to American companies to rebuild domestic manufacturing of critical electric grid components, like transformers.
Such programs have been successful in the past…. What’s more, my bill would be completely paid for by funds already appropriated to support the electric vehicle industry. These funds have sat unused for a decade. Why not use them to do some real good?
In Washington, serious disagreements remain over climate and energy policy, but here is a common-sense solution to a pressing problem. Instead of getting tangled up in typical partisan bickering, let’s use the resources we already have on hand to expand our energy-grid component manufacturing and protect Americans from power loss.
Read the rest here.