New US energy secretary comes out fighting for renewables

New US energy secretary comes out fighting for renewables
Jennifer Granholm
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Updated 04 March 2021

New US energy secretary comes out fighting for renewables

New US energy secretary comes out fighting for renewables
  • The new secretary laid out some specific plans for cleaner energy. They included hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy on the US grid

DUBAI: US President Joe Biden’s new energy secretary has come out fighting for renewable energy in her first big keynote address since getting Congressional approval for her appointment.

Jennifer Granholm told the CERAWeek energy forum in Houston, Texas, that the US had previously “stood on the sidelines” as rival nations developed carbon-neutral policies and technologies.

“But no more,” she told Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian Daniel Yergin.

Granholm said that the plans to make the world net zero in energy terms by 2050 — to which the Biden administration has signed up — presented $23 trillion worth of economic opportunities, and she asked: “Where are those investments going to be? Are they going to be in China? Are they going to be in other economic competitors to us?

“You better believe other countries are vying for this economic sector. So, are we going to get in a battle, or are we going to bring a knife to a gunfight? Joe Biden is demanding that we get in the battle.”

Granholm added: “The Department of Energy is going to be one of our government’s most fierce fighting forces as we pursue this goal of a carbon- and pollution-free economy.”

The new secretary laid out some specific plans for cleaner energy. They included hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy on the US grid, the use of the $40 billion of resources of the Loan Program Office (LOP) for renewable projects, and targeted programs for US oil and gas communities to help them through the transition to cleaner energy sources.

She also announced the appointment of clean energy entrepreneur Jiga Shah as the new head of the LPO. “Jiga has written the playbook on how to drive the market towards renewable energy,” she said.

Granholm, who was governor of the car-producing state of Michigan during the global financial crisis, said that experience has taught her the need to diversify away from gasoline-fueled cars. She also said the state was now the home of one-third of all battery production for electric vehicles in the US. Since then, America has also become self-sufficient in oil and gas, and Granholm said she would continue to seek energy security in hydrocarbons. 

“We want energy security, so the job is how to manage carbon emissions,” she said, highlighting technology for carbon capture as well as the opportunity for hydrogen as a clean fuel.

Granholm said that oil and gas was a “super important” industry.

“People grew up helping to power the US and Joe Biden does not want to leave any community behind. But, I am not going to sugarcoat how difficult the energy transition is,” she said.

Granholm also highlighted plans for the US to maximize its resources of minerals critical for electric vehicle battery production, like cobalt and lithium, “which come from China and from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which uses child labor,” she added.


Revenue management systems key to success of Saudi health reforms says KPMG

Revenue management systems key to success of Saudi health reforms says KPMG
Updated 41 min 26 sec ago

Revenue management systems key to success of Saudi health reforms says KPMG

Revenue management systems key to success of Saudi health reforms says KPMG
  • The Kingdom’s Ministry of Health (MoH) is transitioning from being an all-in-one payer, provider and regulator of health services to becoming a regulator

RIYADH: Robust revenue cycle management systems will be essential for Saudi Arabia’s new health care model, KPMG said in a report.
The Kingdom’s Ministry of Health (MoH) is transitioning from being an all-in-one payer, provider and regulator of health services to becoming a regulator, governing corporate payers and providers.
A key aspect of this transformation is the separation of the payer and the provider functions in the public health care sector, KPMG said. To facilitate future reimbursement to public health care providers, the Ministry of Health has set up the Program for Health Assurance and Purchasing (PHAP).
In addition, the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) has also firmed up regulations for private insurers.
With the introduction of mandatory health insurance underway in the public sector in the Kingdom and the wish to standardize across the public and private sector, Saudi health care providers will need to develop new capabilities to be able to generate revenue under the new reimbursement system, KPMG reported.  
“One of the key implications for health care providers of this introduction is the transformation of how health care service providers are reimbursed. Providers will primarily be paid on a per-patient basis, rather than via allocated budgets from the government,” said Emmeline Roodenburg, head of health care at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.
Patient acceptance and registration; billing and claims management; patient treatment and documentation; and coding and grouping are the four key operational elements of the Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) under the new mechanism.
While the risks that come with having a poor RCM function can be managed and mitigated, if they are left unchecked then the consequences could include revenue losses and fines for inaccurate invoicing, KPMG said.


Fashion retailers launch dedicated Gulf online stores

Fashion retailers launch dedicated Gulf online stores
Updated 44 min 23 sec ago

Fashion retailers launch dedicated Gulf online stores

Fashion retailers launch dedicated Gulf online stores
  • The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers

DUBAI: Global fashion brands are launching dedicated online platforms as the pandemic upends shopping habits in the region.

Brands are launching dedicated channels as online shopping booms across the region.

Germany-based Hugo Boss has become the latest brand to open a regional online store serving Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Customers can now shop through those dedicated online platforms, which will feature exclusive deals and collections.

E-commerce leaders said the pandemic has accelerated the industry's digital push.

Last year, luxury brands Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, and Dior launched their online selling platforms in the region, at the height of COVID-19-induced lockdowns and curfews.

Diesel has also announced an e-commerce platform targeting the UAE and Saudi markets.

Fashion labels  have been reinventing ways to engage with customers who are used to visiting stores to try on garments.

Some companies have also started to use 3D technology and augmented reality to create a holistic shopping experience for their customers.

 


Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling
Updated 19 April 2021

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling
  • The decision allows planning, development, sale, purchase and other services

RIYADH: The Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh (RCRC) has lifted the suspension of development on large parts of the endowed lands north of King Salman Road, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decision allows planning, development, sale, purchase and other services, provided that everything is compatible with the urban code of the city.
It is part of a series of measures aimed at helping the Saudi capital accommodate twice the current population by 2030, RCRC said
The commission said that Riyadh’s strategy is expected to put the city among the top ten cities in the world in terms of economy, competitiveness and quality of life by 2030.
A specialized committee has been formed to look into land affairs and the RCRC has also created a call center to improve communication with the public.

 


Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn
Updated 19 April 2021

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn
  • The market value of stocks and debt instruments reached SR9.8 trillion by the end of 2020

RIYADH:  Saudi public debt issuance increased by nearly 50 percent in 2020 to SR163 billion ($43.4 billion), the Capital Market Authority reported.
Non-government debt issuance increased by more than 250 percent reaching SR31 billion compared to SR9 billion in 2019.  
The market value of stocks and debt instruments reached SR9.8 trillion by the end of 2020, the Authority said in its annual report.
That represented a rise of 335 percent when compared to 2017 when it launched its three-year Financial Leadership Program that ran until last year.
The Authority has been developing its strategic plan for the next three years 2021-2023 in line with updated plans to expand the Kingdom's financial sector.


DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business
Updated 19 April 2021

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business
  • The company organized training sessions for its employees, as well as actual quantum computing coding exercises

DUBAI: Dubai’s port company DP World is exploring quantum computing technology to optimize its operations, the company said in a statement.

It said it was working with D-Wave Systems, a Canadian quantum computing company, to look at how the advanced technology can be applied to DP World’s logistics and trade business.

The company organized training sessions for its employees, as well as actual quantum computing coding exercises.

The technology, DP World said, can be applied to industrial logistics, fleet and traffic management, and other operations across the supply chain.

“Quantum computing capabilities complement our need to reach ultimate smart trade and achieve a seamless logistics infrastructure, where everything is connected, devices work in harmony, and all our operations components communicate with each other intelligently,” Mohammed Al-Muallem, DP World’s chief executive, said.

Quantum computers provide exponential processing power to solve complex problems, better than traditional computers.

The move is part of DP World’s digital push.