I surely hope that the ITC sides with SunPower and excludes their higher end products from the tariffs. It’s hard for me to see the tariffs as productive, and the greater question of sustainability needs to be considered when the ITC is making its decisions. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that the coal industry will play a major role in interfering here with its lobbying capabilities.
To me it seems like the best bet for Freeport is to hold off until 2019 to put pressure on the government as suggested. However that runs the big humane risk of devastating the Freeport community that seems so dependent on the economic activity of the mine, and I worry that Freeport won’t consider the lives of its employees when making such a decision. In an ideal world, I’d love to see Freeport stop activity to put pressure on the government to reverse the tariffs, while still finding a means of employing its people productively. Perhaps their jobs could temporarily be redirected towards improving the quality of living standards in the region?
I appreciate that these innovations are happening and certainly agree that the power, emissions, and water benefits are impressive, but there is definitely still the issue of high consumption of the earth’s resources. This is a great bandaid solution to sustainably extract iron ore, but it’d be great to see Vale working to reduce consumption overall in order to reduce the need to plunder the rainforest.
It’s good to see that O&G companies are finally taking advantage of novel prototyping methods to rapid prototype their designs, but I agree that the most interesting challenges ahead are in seeing if 3D printing can be used in the actual manufacturing of O&G components. I see the sheer size of many of the parts, like the huge buoys for the rigs, as a major manufacturing challenge moving forward. 3D printing will certainly help with design, but it has to be properly incorporated into the design process in order to ensure the engineers are actually using the new technology as a means of answering questions earlier, rather than just as a shiny new toy.
Since 3M is a solutions provider as well, I’d love to see them turn their supply chain innovations into new offerings to sell. 3M is fortunate to have the scale that it does (which can fund this type of development) and can become a market leader in pushing this type of supply chain tracking to other industries. Then 3M can earn a multiple benefit off of its investments in technology while promoting its mission to improve supply chain sustainability by encouraging the industry to adopt their systems (even if they aren’t perfect yet).
I see digitalization as a key operating differentiator, and I think that SCCC will need to push forward with it regardless of the risks. But I think a major risk is that they implement the wrong system, or poorly design their implementation without working with the operators to co-create a solution that helps everybody. It will be key to involve everyone in the design process, with lots of design research done up front before investing heavily in new systems.