Energy briefs

** The Department of Energy’s “moonshot factory” has announced $150 million in funding to transform the American energy system from the ground up.  ARPA-E, the research and development arm of the Energy Department, is looking for “open and audacious ideas” that help to build out “this vision of the energy landscape that doesn’t [yet] exist,” director Evelyn Wang told The Hill. 

** Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh have discovered a large amount of lithium located in Pennsylvania, saying it could eventually supply more than a third of America’s needs for the mineral.

** Wildfire smoke covered as much as 70 percent of California in recent years — wreaking havoc not only on land, but also in the state’s vast freshwater ecosystems, a study published Wednesday has found.  In the past 18 years, maximum smoke cover over the state has increased by about 116,000 square miles — equivalent to about 74.4 percent of California’s entire land area.

** The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will be establishing the first federal research center focused on bolstering community resilience to local heat impacts, the institution announced Monday. The Center of Excellence for Heat Resilient Communities, housed at the university’s Luskin Center for Innovation, is receiving a $2.25 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

** The week of unseasonal heat pushed Texas’ isolated grid to record demand levels for May, and much of the state still swelters under triple-digit heat indices, according to the National Weather Service.

** Danish wind farm developer Orsted will pay New Jersey $125 million to settle claims over the company’s cancellation of two offshore wind farms last year — a little over a third of what the company once was required to pay.


** The EU faces a delicate balancing act as it prepares to rev up taxes on Chinese electric cars to protect European industry, while steering clear of a US-style showdown with Beijing that could spark a trade war.

** Volkswagen will develop low-cost electric vehicles in a bid to better compete with fierce Chinese rivals, Europe’s largest carmaker said on Tuesday, after talks with Renault to team up on the project collapsed earlier this month.

** Southeast Asia is on track to vastly expand its gas-fired power plant and liquid natural gas import capacity, threatening its green energy transition, a report warned Thursday. The region’s existing plans project a doubling of gas-fired power capacity, and an 80 percent increase in LNG import capacity, said Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a US-based NGO.