** The U.S. Department of Energy said Sunday it would announce a “major scientific breakthrough” this week, after media reported a federal laboratory had recently achieved a major milestone in nuclear fusion research. The Financial Times reported Sunday that scientists in the California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) had achieved a “net energy gain” from an experimental fusion reactor.
** The Department of Energy has fired Sam Brinton, thought to be the nation’s first openly gender fluid federal employee, amid multiple allegations of luggage theft. “Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee,” a department spokesperson told the Daily Beast on Monday. “By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”
** The Biden administration defended giving a $200 million grant to a battery component manufacturing company with ties to the Chinese government. In October, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the grant to Microvast, a Texas-based maker of technology for electric vehicle batteries, under the $1 trillion infrastructure package President Biden signed into law in November 2021.
** According to CarandDriver.com, Toyota is pulling the plug on selling the Toyota C-HR in the U.S. and Canada as it ends production for North America in 2022. While you won’t be able to get the Toyota C-HR in North American, it will still be sold in Europe.
** Multinational automaker Stellantis is indefinitely closing an assembly plant in Illinois in February and laying off hundreds of workers, in large part due to the high cost of making electric vehicles.
** Georgia has seen more than $20 billion in electric vehicle-related announcements in the year since EV maker Rivian announced it would build a factory in the state.
** The U.S. Department of Energy will provide a $2.5 billion loan to a joint venture by General Motors and LG that is opening battery manufacturing plants in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
** More than 100 health care professionals urge Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to set targets for phasing out diesel fuel engines in exchange for electric trucks to reduce emissions.
** After a judge dismisses Utah youths’ lawsuit alleging the state’s fossil fuel policies were harmful, advocates’ lawyers say they will continue to pursue similar litigation in other states.
** New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday she hoped to lead a trade mission to China once border settings are changed to allow travel to her country’s biggest trading partner as it emerges from the pandemic.
** Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the impact of European sanctions on Russian crude oil and the cap that the Group of Seven nations has imposed on the price of Russian barrels is not clear yet.
** Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela called on European Union governments to break a deadlock over a proposed price cap for natural gas to help limit energy costs for households and business.
** MG is planning to expand electric car sales in the UK, seeing “a significant opportunity” in the country after buyers snapped up its cars last year. The car brand, controlled by the Chinese state, said the time had come to capitalise on what is now a “very strong electric vehicle offering”.