Energy and Climate Change

The production of steel is inherently energy intensive, and the industry consumes substantial amounts of electricity, natural gas, and coal and coke to make our products. Energy accounts for typically 20 percent or more of the cost of making steel and the availability and reliability of supplies of these energy sources is essential to our industry’s international competitiveness, especially when steelmakers in competitor nations receive subsidized energy.

AISI members continue to make improvements to increase energy efficiency, and the U.S. industry is leading the way by effectively setting the bar for steel industry efficiency worldwide. AISI members have made substantial gains in reducing their energy usage, as well as their environmental footprint, over the last two decades. The domestic steel industry has voluntarily reduced its energy intensity by 31 percent since 1990, while reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 36 percent over the same time period. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has indicated that the steel industry in the U.S. has the lowest energy intensity and second-lowest CO2 emissions intensity of any major steel producing country. Also the industry is committed to developing new breakthrough technologies for the production of steel that emit little or no GHGs and conserve energy.

The recent production of oil and natural gas from domestic shale formations has substantially changed opportunities for the domestic steel industry. Affordable natural gas is presenting all steelmakers with new options for how to make their products more efficiently, as well as expanded markets for steel pipe and tube products that are essential to the production and transmission of natural gas and oil. The production of shale-based oil and natural gas has the potential to create a manufacturing renaissance in the United States through significant investments, plant expansions, and job creation. However, the recent decrease in rig count for both domestic oil and gas production, along with record high import levels on energy-related steel products, have had a detrimental impact on our industry’s success.

Industry Position: Congress and the Administration should craft a national energy policy that promotes development of all domestic energy sources, with particular focus on the benefits to manufacturing provided by shale-based oil and natural gas production. Policymakers should also promote industrial energy efficiency efforts and support research and development of breakthrough technologies. Measures intended to address climate change are most effective when undertaken on a global basis. This must be the guiding principle if the U.S. is to actually lower CO2 concentrations globally without lessening the competitiveness and growth opportunities of domestic steel producers.  More »

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Did You Know | Facts About The Steel Industry | American Iron and Steel Institute

New technologies are being researched at MIT and the University of Utah that may allow us to produce iron, a major element in steel, without the emission of carbon dioxide