President Donald Trump's Energy Policy
Donald Trump has been making headlines with his early pursuit of the United States Presidency. Real estate mogul and star of the hit reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” Trump is outspoken in his success, and has some pretty interesting ideas as far as United States energy security is concerned.
First of all, thought we were reaching an end to the occupation in Iraq? Not if President Trump is at the helm of the U.S. military. Trump believes, in no uncertain terms, that the $1.5 trillion spent “liberating” the people of Iraq from ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein entitles the U.S. to Iraqi oil (although the 100,000+ Iraqi civilian casualties may have some questioning whether the U.S. is a liberator, or responsible for the biggest war crime on the planet!). Trump plans to use military force to secure Iraqi oil fields and forcefully take Iraqi oil reserves.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump explains, “We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we’re going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.”
Stephanopoulos: “It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.”
Trump: “Excuse me. No, it wouldn’t at all.”
Stephanopoulos: “So, we steal an oil field.”
Trump: “Excuse me. You’re not stealing. Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking– we’re reimbursing ourselves– at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.”
Trump also points the finger of blame for higher oil prices, not at speculators, but rather at OPEC nations. Trump claims that OPEC is directly responsible for setting oil price, and President Trump would move to forcibly provoke OPEC nations to lower prices (although he gives no clear outline as to how this will be done).
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Donald Trump also believes that domestic U.S. oil production should be boosted, but shows little sympathy for the long-term consequences of oil spills like BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in 2010. “I think it’s incredible that we’re going slow on drilling… It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen. There’ll always be problems. You’re going to have an oil spill, but you clean it up, you fix it up, and it will be fine.”
There is, however, some glimmer of sanity to Trump's non-oil energy ideas. He explains in an interview on Fox News Insider that the United States is the “Saudi Arabia times one hundred of Natural Gas.” While natural gas certainly has its issues—namely gas shale fracturing polluting groundwater supplies—it is a viable solution to U.S. energy security, and developing natural gas infrastructure can accelerate more sustainable options like waste and algae-derived biogas.
When it comes to nuclear, “President” Trump would still actively pursue nuclear energy, despite the situation unfolding in Japan. Although he does stress the need to be “careful” in nuclear development, especially in earthquake prone areas like California, which is “certainly a ground-zero type site.”
So if you want to continue down the path of imperialism, vote for Trump in 2012! We’ll be sure to kill off plenty of young American troops in securing more cheap dirty fuel until it all runs out, all the while murdering countless innocent civilians abroad (but don’t worry, they’re not American, so they don’t matter right?). An all out oil war will arise between the U.S. and OPEC nations, and World War III will finally be realized. Or, you can vote for a sensible human being (not necessarily Obama mind you) whose sole concern isn’t the size of their pocketbook. Someone who will invest U.S. dollars and fuel reserves not into the war machine, but rather, into rebuilding U.S. infrastructure around sustainable, lasting principles. If the U.S. had spent the $1.5 trillion it did on the Iraq conflict on sustainable infrastructure development in the first place, we wouldn’t need to go occupying other countries. The U.S. can shine as a beacon of progress that the world can look up to, or revert to brutal tactics of international subversion, as has been the historic norm. Under a Trump presidency, expect the latter.
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.
"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.