Tester Introduces Bill to Strengthen Energy Independence, Protect Grid Resilience

Senator’s bipartisan bill counters Biden Administration rule, boosts transformer supply chains

As a part of his continued effort to boost American energy independence and strengthen American energy grids, U.S. Senator Jon Tester recently introduced his bipartisan Distribution Transformer Efficiency & Supply Chain Reliability Act to bolster the U.S. transformer supply chain by setting new realistic energy efficiency standards that help stabilize domestic transformer manufacturing to meet increasing demand without exacerbating existing supply chains.

“Energy independence and security are critical to the success of Montana’s small businesses and families, and the Department of Energy’s proposed efficiency rule could jeopardize both for rural America,” said Tester. “The proposed energy rule from the Biden Administration could strain our existing supply chains and jack up prices, which would have catastrophic effects on our national and economic security. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this commonsense fix that will boost American energy independence and strengthen our energy grids.” 

In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a proposed rule that would strain existing supply chains for distribution transformers and could create a shortage of related components. If finalized, the proposed rule would require all distribution transformers to shift from the industry standard grain oriented electrical steel (GOES) cores to amorphous cores. GOES currently accounts for more than 95 percent of the domestic distribution transformer market and manufacturers’ production lines are tooled for designs that use GOES.

Moving to amorphous cores, as proposed by DOE, would disadvantage U.S. manufacturers and risk adding significant vulnerability to the nation’s grid and threat to our national security. The Distribution Transformer Efficiency & Supply Chain Reliability Act of 2024 would prevent the new DOE rule from taking effect and instead create a new standard that provides increased energy efficiency of transformers at levels that preserve market opportunities for GOES as well as amorphous. 

Tester has led the charge to bolster Montana’s robust energy portfolio and modernize the state’s power grids. Through his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), he secured significant investments to improve and modernize Montana’s electrical grid to support the next generation of energy. His bipartisan infrastructure law also supports clean energy research and development in the Montana University System.

In October, Tester secured $26 million in funding to prevent and protect energy grids against wildfire from his IIJA. In September, he secured an additional $14 million to strengthen Montana’s energy grid against wildfires and extreme weather events from his IIJA.


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