You can’t make Aluminum without electricity – boatloads of electricity. So all major aluminum smelting facilities are located where they can get cheap electricity – either by contract or by proximity to major generation facilities. In Canada, this means most aluminum is located near the James Bay hydro-electric project. We learned that in public school.
Most of the workers at a Frederick County aluminum plant will be laid off starting next month as production is curtailed because of high electricity prices, the plant’s owner said yesterday.
Alcoa Inc. plans to lay off 500 of the 600 workers in late December, company spokesman Jake Siewert said. Another 75 employees are expected to be laid off next year from the 35-year-old plant.
The company probably will shutter the 400-acre smelting plant, called Eastalco Works, unless electricity prices fall, Siewert said. “If energy prices in the mid-Atlantic stay where they are, it’s virtually impossible to see a scenario where that smelter is viable,” Siewert said.
Alcoa said it has not been able to arrange a competitively priced power supply for the facility
The plant has been operating under a power arrangement with Allegheny Power that expires Dec. 31. The current rates Eastalco pays are about 40 percent higher than the global smelting average paid for electricity
and from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via RedNova (RedOrbit)
electricity providers in the region are suggesting rates more than three times higher than the global industry average.
Alcoa sent out notices to about 600 workers in October warning that electricity prices were jeopardizing their jobs. Employees, elected officials and community leaders presented a short-term proposal to the Maryland state legislature.
But the measure has not been put to a vote and the company has no indication that it would be signed into law, said Alcoa vice president Geoffrey Cromer.