Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley
After facing weeks of devastating attacks from an incredibly effective Ukrainian defense, the Russian army has announced they are beginning to withdraw a “significant” portion of their forces from the central portion of the country around the capitol Kyiv. This move was announced after what appears to have been productive meetings between Ukrainian and Russian officials in Turkey early this week.
While the Russian side is attempting to message that this withdrawal is strategic and planned, the truth is the Russian invasion has been a failure by all actual metrics, with the Russians facing catastrophic losses and being denied nearly all of their strategic objectives.
Russia now claims to be focused on the eastern part of Ukraine. For now, it appears that all sanctions will remain on Russia as long as armed forces remain inside Ukraine, and it seems there will not be a quick end to the crisis and a return to normalcy anytime soon.
In regard to energy markets, we can expect the European desire to ween itself off Russian energy to continue for the foreseeable future until the conflict is totally settled. Even then, significant uncertainty exists as to whether Russian President Vladimir Putin or others within the Russian government and military will face prosecution for war crimes during the conflict.
These questions could ensure that instability with the situation continues for many months or even years after hostilities cease. However, there are certainly no guarantees that hostilities will cease quickly. The Ukrainians have shown no sign that they are willing to give up any territory in the eastern portion of their country, and the momentum is in their favor so concessions appear unlikely.
President Biden’s Budget Released
While the President’s draft budget is always changed significant by Congress, in a year where the President’s party controls both the House and the Senate, it is an important document that is a clear indicator of where the policy priorities of the Administration will be.
Of particular note, the White House is asking for $17.5 billion for the Department of the Interior for 2023, which is a 25% increase over the $14.1 billion that was given to the agency under the omnibus appropriations bill that provides their current funding. This increase, if enacted, would raise the amount of money the department has for promoting renewable energy on public lands, increasing wages for government employees fighting wildfires and measuring the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on government facilities. Much of the increase will go to climate change initiatives, including the creation of a “Federal climate data portal.”
The Department of Energy will also see an increase. The President’s Budget request calls for $48.2 billion in discretionary funding for the department, which is a 7% increase over the omnibus that provides their funding this year. This proposal includes $200 million that would go toward a new Solar Manufacturing Accelerator at DOE to help build out domestic capacity in solar energy supply chains and away from imported products that rely on “unacceptable” labor practices. Congress recently passed a bill blocking imports from areas of western China which supply some solar manufacturing.
The proposal also calls for $9.2 billion in clean energy projects that includes $700 million on expanding the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s authority to address gaps in adaptation, mitigation and resilience against climate. It would also allocate $3 billion toward clean energy projects that would support job growth, including weatherizing, decarbonizing and electrifying low-income homes.
Also of note is a $3 billion investment, which includes $90 million to build a new Grid Deployment Office that would work on building out an electrical grid that can support large amounts of clean energy resources, and $150 million in credit subsidies to support $5 billion in loans for projects that can avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.
As the proposed budget begins to make its way through the appropriations process in Congress, Energy Workforce will advocate for policy initiatives that will benefit our sector and keep members posted about any potential opportunities that arise.
If you would like to get involved with the Council’s advocacy efforts or the Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.
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.