Energy quick reads

**A Virginia lawmaker introduced a bill last week that, if passed, would prohibit the utilities Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power from charging customers for many of their political activities.  The bill, HB 792, would bar Virginia’s investor-owned electric utilities from charging their customers for their dues to trade associations, lobbying of government officials, advertising and other efforts to influence public opinion, charitable giving, and litigation to challenge regulations or laws.

** The U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $131 million for projects to advance research and development (R&D) in electric vehicle (EV) batteries and charging systems, and funding for a consortium to address critical priorities for the next phase of widescale EV commercialization.

** The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate the environmental impact of idled “zombie” coal mines in response to an October request from several congressional Democrats, a GAO spokesperson confirmed.

** The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new “climate disclosure” rule was the latest flashpoint in the GOP’s battle against government overreach in a House hearing Thursday.

** The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports renewable  sources continued the increasing trend of 2023, showing a 7.0% growth year-on-year, driven by gains in generation from wind (+11.5%) and solar (+15.8% y-o-y) power for electricity production. Wind power showed a sharp increase relative to the previous month (41.1% m-o-m), slightly ahead of the seasonal trend.

** Ford Motor said on Friday it would reduce production of its F-150 Lightning pickup truck, as demand for electric vehicles (EVs) slows. The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it would cut production at its Michigan Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to one shift starting April 1.

** Uranium prices have exploded by 165% over the last year, and 15% just in the last week, which has caused a new rush for Wyoming Uranium miners to cash in. New uranium mines are opening up and expanding.


** A fire broke out at a Baltic Sea terminal belonging to Novatek, Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, after a suspected Ukrainian drone attack, forcing the company to suspend some operations there. The Interfax-Ukraine news agency, citing unnamed sources, said the fire was the result of a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s security services.

** The German boss of Britain’s biggest wind turbine maker has warned energy bills will have to keep rising to pay for the green transition as he attacked “fairytale” thinking about net zero.

** London’s Endeavour Mining Plc is stripping its former Chief Executive Officer Sébastien de Montessus of $29.1 million in renumeration after he was fired earlier this month for “serious misconduct.”

** China’s BYD, the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker, unveiled three battery EV models in Indonesia on Thursday as it seeks to become market leader in the segment in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

** United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the phase-out of fossil fuels was essential and inevitable to avoid a global climate catastrophe.

** Canada’s main oil-producing province, Alberta, cleaned up 9% of its inactive oil and gas wells in 2022, reducing the total to 83,000 from 91,000 a year earlier, the provincial energy regulator said this week.