Ford, GM Join Companies Seeking Federal Investment in Clean Aluminum - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  October 6, 2023

Ford, GM Join Companies Seeking Federal Investment in Clean Aluminum

The Department of Energy must invest in American-made clean aluminum to reduce industrial emissions and retain and create manufacturing jobs, according to a letter sent by Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Pepsi Co., Ball Corp., Rivian, SunPower and eight more leading companies to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm. 

The letter states by using investments from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to expand and secure an affordable supply of clean energy, the Biden administration can modernize and grow this industry 

The actions outlined in the letter would help secure a robust supply chain of sustainably manufactured clean aluminum in the U.S., reduce emissions and create jobs to realize the full potential of the landmark climate law. 

“Spiking electricity prices, lack of access to low-cost renewable energy, and insufficient federal investment have pushed the remaining six primary smelters to the brink,” the letter states. “The IRA is poised to make the largest-ever investment in U.S. manufacturing, supercharging aluminum-dependent clean energy technologies. In order to meet increased aluminum demand that will affect all our industries, the U.S. must invest heavily in supply.” 

Global demand for aluminum is set to increase nearly 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 and is used in the clean energy economy for solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps, transmission lines, electric vehicles and more.

The aluminum industry has traditionally relied on fossil fuel. Power supply accounts for 40% of U.S. smelters’ total production costs, and smelters in Kentucky and Indiana said high energy costs due to volatile fossil fuel prices necessitated curtailing operations last year. 

Meanwhile, the price of electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar has plummeted over the last 10 years. Rather than allow these smelters to become priced out, the federal government can secure low-cost electricity supplies in the short term while investing in long-term supplies of more affordable, renewable energy.

“Ford is committed to achieving carbon neutrality across our vehicles, operations and supply chain no later than 2050, and sourcing domestically produced, lower-carbon primary aluminum is part of a host of actions we are taking that will help us meet our ambitious sustainability goals,” said Cynthia Williams, Global Director of Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance at Ford, in a statement. “The Inflation Reduction Act presents a powerful opportunity for the Department of Energy to prioritize American-made, clean sources of aluminum, which will in turn make more sustainable options available to companies like Ford. It’s going to take all of us – manufacturers, suppliers, energy providers and government – working together to build a better future that’s not just good for business, but also for people and the planet.”

The letter was published on as well as in full page ads in five newspapers: The Albany Times-Union, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Louisville Courier-Journal, the South Carolina Post and Courier, and the Indianapolis Star, each newspaper in a market with one of the remaining six primary aluminum smelters. The letter was also accompanied by a digital ad campaign and mobile takeover on Politico.

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