April 18, 2011

This Weekend's News: Someone Should Tell The Donald About DOD's Energy Programs

I have to
admit that I don’t tend to watch Sunday morning news shows, but Will shot me an email Sunday
morning noting a fabulous CNN interview with potential candidate (or not)
Donald Trump
. I tuned in the video later to find Trump talking about how
wealthy the Arab League is, and asking why it is not paying the United States
for going into Libya. He further stated that oil analysts “don’t understand why
oil is so high. There’s so much of it. It’s all over the place.” His answer: “I
almost want to scream into the television. It’s OPEC!” He goes on to say that “Saudi
Arabia wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for us,” and that the United States
should just exert a little pressure and all will be fine.

hoping that the politicians who do enter the race for 2012 for both parties do
know a bit more about energy than this. There’s a screaming need for major
political action on energy now, as the weekend’s news showed.  

terms of fossil fuels, the news was depressing as ever. Many outlets this
weekend had one-year-after articles on the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the
Gulf. The New York Times and The Washington Post both reported on the
steep curve still ahead in improving U.S. government capacity to review permits
and improve oversight for offshore drilling. The
Times also reported on an investigation by
Congressional Democrats
that found that “Oil and gas companies injected
hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into
wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009” for hydraulic fracking

an optimistic op-ed from Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, in the Post yesterday, the news on nuclear wasn’t
much better. As I suspected in the immediate aftermath of the tripartite disasters
in Japan, other countries are looking to its still-leaking damaged reactors and
spikes in radiation and reassessing their nuclear options. We’ve been following
news on this topic closely, and on Friday the New York Times reported that the public in India is increasingly
questioning the nuclear energy option
just as its government commits to swift
expansion of reactors.

news over the weekend, however, also highlighted some of the good work the Department of Defense is doing to move ahead on energy.

National Defense Magazine has a long
article on how the Army is taking lessons from Iraq and elsewhere to increase
its energy efficiency for computer servers

Paul McLeary in Aviation Week’s Defense Technology Blog also provided
a good overview of Army efforts to improve energy efficiency, increase metering
and deploy microgrids, including an interview with one of the Army’s high-ranking
great minds on energy. In
The Marine Corps Times, Dan Lamothe had
a great piece on Sunday outlining the next round of the USMC ExFOB program.
Even better: this piece offers proof that the Marines are taking lessons
learned from deployments with renewable energy to improve these systems. (This
was a big concern of mine; we’ve seen plenty of projects that led to nothing
because they were basically abandoned if not perfect from the start, rather
than improved upon.)

Trump and all potential 2012 candidates are paying close attention to DOD’s
impressive efforts on energy.

The Week Ahead

12:30 p.m., SAIS will be hosting a discussion on "Utilizing Commodity
Market Mechanisms to Develop Agriculture and Food Security in Africa
." On
Thursday at 9:00 a.m., SAIS will also be discussing, “Energy Hungry Tigers and
Dragons: Comparing India and China's Energy Sector Development Strategies
." Friday,
at 3:00 p.m., New American Foundation is holding an event on “China’s New
Resource Diplomacy