Energy briefs

** The federal government agreed to a $15 million fine for Norfolk Southern over last year’s disastrous derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and the railroad promised to pay more than $500 million to complete the efforts to improve safety that it announced after the crash and address community health concerns.

** Tesla has left out its goal of delivering 20 million vehicles a year by 2030 in its latest impact report published on Thursday, another sign the company was moving away from electric cars as it shifts focus to robotaxis.

** Washington Gov. Jay Inslee rejected a recommendation to cut a proposal for what would be the state’s largest wind farm in half, giving new life to the $1.7 billion project. Plans for the Horse Heaven wind farm originally included up to 222 wind turbines across 24 miles (38.6 kilometers) of hillsides in the Tri-Cities area of eastern Washington, plus three solar arrays covering up to 8.5 square miles (22 square kilometers).

** Elon Musk has attacked Joe Biden’s plans for a 100pc tariff on electric cars made in China despite Tesla potentially being poised to benefit from the levy. Mr Musk told a technology conference in Paris that he preferred “no tariffs” when asked how the US president’s recent policies would affect Tesla.

** Chipmaker Micron Technology owes computer-memory company Netlist $445 million in damages for violating Netlist’s patent rights in memory-module technology for high-performance computing, a U.S. jury said.


** Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising at an alarming rate, with experts warning that the largest ever recorded increase occurred over the last year. Carbon concentrations in March 2024 were a staggering 4.7 parts per million higher than in March 2023, according to the Guardian.

** China has made a lot of solar panels, dramatically lowering prices and helping the country’s clean-energy transition.The problem is that Chinese manufacturers seem to have made too many solar panels, according to the US, the European Union, and their allies. They’re now calling on Beijing to rein in the overcapacity of the panels and other goods, raising prospects of a trade war.

** Germany has so much energy coming from solar panels that it’s outpaced consumer demand and pushed energy prices into a steep nose dive — even going past zero into the negative, according to Business Insider, creating an Alice in Wonderland energy market in which consumers of electricity can be paid to use the extra power.

** The Chinese automaker BYD, Tesla’s largest rival in China, announced last month that it was planning to bring its affordable Seagull electric hatchback to Europe as soon as 2025, according to Bloomberg. The Seagull’s base model sells for less than $10,000 in China.