** President Joe Biden has named Willie Phillips, a Democrat, acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC said on Tuesday. Phillips joined the commission in December, 2021 after being appointed by Biden and approved by Congress. Phillips will be the first Black person to take the reigns at FERC.
** Two men were charged Tuesday in connection to all four substation attacks that occurred in western Washington state over Christmas, as the federal government pursues prosecution for increased instances of electric grid sabotage across the country this winter.
** Duke Energy issued an apology to customers and regulators on Tuesday, taking responsibility for rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve that left hundreds of thousands of customers without power. Company representatives appeared before the North Carolina Utilities Commission to spell out what led to outages that impacted some 500,000 households and businesses in the Carolinas after freezing temperatures from Winter Storm Elliott sparked a surge in demand.
** For the first time, more money was raised in the debt markets for climate-friendly projects than for fossil-fuel companies. Roughly $580 billion was arranged in 2022 for renewable energy and other environmentally responsible ventures, while the oil, gas and coal industries turned to lenders and underwriters for closer to $530 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
** Federal regulators have ordered Union Pacific railroad to make sure a livestock producer gets the grain it needs in California to prevent millions of chickens and hundreds of thousands of cattle from starving. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board told the railroad it must improve service to Foster Farms to keep it from running out of feed for livestock it raises.
** The EPA’s latest rule on defining ‘waters of the United States’ is a statement of federal overreach that ignores states’ authority to regulate intrastate water quality and the Clean Water Act’s statutory mandate for cooperative federalism,” Ted McKinney, the president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, said in a statement.
** General Motors is boosting the price for the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV by hundreds of dollars due to increased pressures on prices across the industry. The move, effective Monday, came about six months after the automaker dramatically slashed entry prices for both all-electric vehicles by about $6,000.
** In December, the International Energy Agency warned that Europe could face a gas shortage this year despite its successful efforts to fill up storage for winter 2022-23. Now, more voices are joining the warnings as reality sets in, and it is not a reality that one can easily brush aside.
** The European Union is working on proposals designed to decouple gas prices and renewable energy prices in what could be a major overhaul in the bloc’s power market amid an unprecedented crisis. Some EU member states are pushing for market reforms that would more adequately reflect the lower cost of renewable power generation.
** A Tokyo Gas Co. unit is in advanced talks to buy US natural gas producer Rockcliff Energy in a deal worth about $4.6 billion, including debt, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
** People in a village just north of Mexico City complained of a persistent odor of gasoline for weeks, but even they were surprised when the community’s spring-water well burst into flames and began belching dense black smoke. Residents blocked a major highway this week in protest, complaining that the smell and smoke is unbearable and that they have lost their water supply.
** Major French utilities have agreed to save the country’s beleaguered bakeries by letting them out of pricey power contracts, Reuters reported.
** Inflation in Germany is at its highest point in over seven decades, according to new data published by the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday. Prices for energy and food skyrocketed to 7.9% for 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.