There is no greater challenge we face than that posed by COVID-19. Here are the ways the Department of Energy is leading in the national “all-hands-on-deck” fight against the pandemic.
PROTECTING OUR WORKFORCE
Protecting the health and safety of our DOE employees is our most important priority. That is why we are in a maximum telework posture while maintaining our operations. We continue to monitor potential exposures and deal swiftly with the relatively small number of employee COVID cases as we prepare for a return to full operations at headquarters and across our Department.
SUPPORTING VIRUS RESEARCH
We are using every tool at our disposal to combat the coronavirus. Seven of our National Laboratories – Argonne, Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Idaho and Sandia – are partners in the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium the President announced in late March. With DOE and IBM as co-chairs, this extraordinary effort brings together leaders in government, industry, and academia to provide access to the world’s most powerful computing resources in support of coronavirus research.
In addition, we deployed our “National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Coordination Team” to bring high-performance computing, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, x-ray and neutron sources, and advanced manufacturing, including 3D-Printing, to the fight against COVID.
SECURING CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
When it comes to the delivery of electricity, the stakes could not be higher. Hospitals and other front-line healthcare workers depend on an uninterrupted energy supply to run ventilators and other emergency services equipment. The Department is coordinating with state governments and the private sector to ensure our power grid remains up and running. To aid in that effort President Trump recently signed an Executive Order to secure the nation’s Bulk-Power System. This order will give the Department new tools to protect our bulk-power system equipment from exploitation, sabotage, and attacks by foreign adversaries.
STABILIZING ENERGY MARKETS
The combination of falling demand caused by COVID-19 and surging supply has led to a collapse in oil prices, threatening the survival of domestic producers and the livelihoods of countless Americans. But the Department has taken swift, decisive action.
First, through the leadership of President Trump, a historic agreement was reached between Saudi Arabia and Russia – the co-chairs of OPEC-Plus – on terms favorable to our country. This alone can go a long way toward stabilizing energy markets and helping our domestic producers.
Next, we are working with producers and helping alleviate the oil storage crunch by negotiating contracts for them to store their crude oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
In combination, these actions will help stabilize markets as energy demand increases with states beginning their phased re-openings.