The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, or NEMA, released an open letter to candidates currently running for presidential or congressional offices: In it, the association, which represents hundreds of electrical and medical imaging manufacturers employing more than 300,000 workers at 6,100 different U.S. sites, called for policies they said would expand the economy, improve healthcare, and “ensure access to safe and reliable electricity.”
According to NEMA, the next crop of candidates sworn in should look “beyond product efficiency,” modernize the U.S. electric grid, negotiate access to international markets for U.S. goods, make it easier for manufacturers to attract skilled employees, and invest in medical imaging technology.
On its first priority, NEMA pushed back on legislative requirements that electrical manufacturers continue improving product efficiency on an ongoing basis, saying that modern devices have already attained a reasonably high standard of efficiency. “Electrical products have largely reached the limits of technologically feasible and economically justified energy efficiency increases,” the letter read.
NEMA suggested that lawmakers instead treat electricity on a “systems-wide” basis, leading into its second request on modernizing the grid, which the association says was not built for variable electrical sources. This could pose a problem, NEMA says, for the future adoption of wind, solar, and other renewable forms of energy. Additionally, energy storage will be more important in a modernized grid that integrates “intermittent renewable energy sources into the grid.”
On trade, the electrical manufacturers association argued that future trade deals should seek to lower import/export costs in order to open international markets to U.S. firms.
NEMA’s requests on jobs will be familiar to many manufacturers: it’s too hard to find skilled employees. “We take our responsibility seriously to train employees in the finer techniques of specialized manufacturing processes,” writes NEMA. “All too often, however, sought-after potential employees arrive ill-prepared to grasp essential elements of the 21st century work environment.”
Lastly, the association called for the government to facilitate the improvement of medical imaging technologies, which they credit with helping “revolutionize” health care in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
In addition to providing a forum for members to discuss industry concerns, NEMA, founded in 1926, is an NAIS-accredited Standards Developing Organization for members of the electronics manufacturing and medical imaging industries.