“Total confusion and total uncertainty” reign at global energy companies and energy ministries about the future of American energy policy, according to a leading industry thought leader.
“There is always apprehension when you are dealing with the unknown,” said Barry Worthington, executive director of the United States Energy Association. USEA represents 150 players in the U.S. energy sector and represents the country in the World Energy Council, which advises global energy leaders.
Many European countries consider climate change a higher concern than jobs or the economy, Worthington said.
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Barry Worthington /// Courtesy of Eesti Energia
While it is understood that President Donald Trump supports fossil fuels, his broader policy aims remain to be established, Worthington said in an exclusive interview with the Energy Times last week in Washington. The interview was conducted at USEA’s annual policy briefing involving leaders of major energy associations in the country.
“My personal view that he is going to be an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy guy,” Worthington said. That would be well within the mainstream of utility and energy leaders who believe we need to fully embrace nuclear, natural gas, coal, renewables, energy efficiency and storage, he said.
Many nations now are concerned about the stance that the Trump administration will take in regards to the Paris climate agreement negotiated by 195 nations, Worthington said. It went into effect in November.
Many energy leaders around the world are focused on the need to improve access to energy among the global poor, Worthington said. An estimated 1 billion to 1.5 billion people have no access to energy, and an additional 1 billion to 1.5 billion have inadequate power supplies. By mid-century, global population is expected to soar by 2 billion.
“Our industry is going to be expected to double our services to customers in the next 40 to 50 years while decarbonizing the energy,” Worthington said. “That is going to be a huge challenge,” Worthington said.