Indiana’s economy is based on industry. More than a quarter of our state’s gross output is from the manufacturing sector, which employs more than 16% of our state’s workforce. Metals and automotive manufacturing make up the core of Indiana’s manufacturing output: We are home to one of only five remaining U.S. primary aluminum smelters, more than a quarter of the nation’s steelmaking capacity, and we are a leading state for automotive manufacturing.
As the energy transition accelerates, demand for primary aluminum will skyrocket over the coming decades. Primary aluminum is used to make solar panels, heat pumps, electric vehicles, transmission lines, and so much more. Demand for primary aluminum is expected to increase up to 40% by 2050. Meanwhile, demand for sustainable aluminum and steel is increasing rapidly as manufacturers like GM, Toyota, Subaru, and Stellanits – all of which have plants in Indiana – have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality.
Despite a strong industrial base, Indiana risks losing our competitive edge unless we immediately begin to pivot to sustainable metals manufacturing driven by unleashing access to renewable energy and investing in low-carbon industrial processes to make the sustainable metals that the markets are demanding. CAC is working closely with our partners at the Sustainable Aluminum Network to advance solutions that can be implemented now to revitalize and grow the industry, creating stable and good paying jobs in our communities.
We must pursue policies that will deliver renewable energy to our industrial facilities and that will open the door to investments in new technologies, like inert-anodes for aluminum production and direct reduction technology and electric arc furnaces for steel production. Our new report, Sustainable Metals Manufacturing Opportunities in Indiana, prepared on our behalf by the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), discusses these policies and technologies and is a first step in outlining strategies for Indiana to lock-in our competitive advantage and capture the enormous benefits that the market for sustainable metals presents our State, our communities, and our economy.