Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley
In the past few weeks, Russia has begun to ramp up their effort to target Ukrainian civilian energy infrastructure in an effort to terrorize the Ukrainian population and make conditions as difficult as possible during the winter season. This effort began with Russian targeting of Ukrainian power infrastructure facilities and equipment, but it has now moved on to oil and gas production facilities and equipment. The U.S. (and some European) governments are working to backfill and replace this equipment as fast as possible to ensure that the Ukrainian oil and gas industry can continue operations. This supply will be critical to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine in the coming months.
The U.S. effort is being led by the Department of Energy, and Energy Workforce has been working with the DOE to help identify Energy Workforce companies that are interested in participating in the effort. Two calls have been held with the group of interested companies.
A list of needed equipment is managed by DOE and updated on a weekly basis so companies can search the items Ukraine is seeking. Both new and refurbished equipment is being sought.
There is funding for purchasing of this equipment by the U.S. Government for quick transfer to the Ukrainians. DOE and the Department of Commerce are working together to create a specialized, expedited procurement process for the equipment, which means that participating companies will not be required to become certified government contractors and go through the typical complex government bidding process.
Equipment that is located in the United States will be collected in Charleston, SC and shipped to Ukraine. Therefore, those companies wishing to participate should provide the cost of the equipment plus shipment to this location to share with DOE. For equipment located in Europe, a distribution point in Poland is being established and details will be communicated at a later date.
For Energy Workforce Member Companies that are interested in learning more or participating in this important program, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide you with the current spreadsheet of equipment needs and can put you in touch with the DOE contact who is running the program.
DOE Fusion Experiment Hailed as Success
U.S. scientists working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have successfully completed an experiment that is groundbreaking for fusion technology, showing for the first time that humans can use the fusion process to create more energy than is put into the system.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced this discovery from DOE headquarters on Tuesday. In her remarks she said, “It’s the first time it’s ever been done at a laboratory. Simply put, this is one of the most impressive scientific feats in the 21st century. Today we tell the world that America has achieved a tremendous scientific breakthrough.”
The experiment used lasers which were fired at a small hydrogen pellet to create a small nuclear reaction for a split second. According to preliminary calculations, more energy was released in this process then put into it.
Fusion energy has long been a dream for scientists who say the technology will enable cheap, plentiful power. While the experiment is being hailed as a success, the technology is likely decades away from having a significant impact on the world energy mix. The longstanding joke of fusion power is it is “always about 50 years away.” This is a step forward, however most analysts are saying we still have many hurdles to cross. Significant work will be needed to replicate this process and to successfully commercialize it. Many challenges remain, but it is something to watch closely as the implications of the development could be widespread.
Tim Tarpley, SVP Government Affairs & Counsel, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.