Energy briefs

** Most people who received money from Norfolk Southern in the wake of last year’s fiery train derailment in eastern Ohio won’t have to pay taxes on millions of dollars in aid payments after all. The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that most of the payments people who live near East Palestine, Ohio, received to help them pay for temporary housing or replace their belongings aren’t taxable because the Feb. 3, 2023, derailment that forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes qualified as “an event of a catastrophic nature.”

**  Just seven electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations have begun operating with funding from a $5-billion U.S. government program created in 2021, marking “pathetic” progress, a Democratic senator said on Wednesday. “That is pathetic. We’re now three years into this … That is a vast administrative failure,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.

** Congress is poised to let a law giving benefits for victims of U.S. nuclear testing expire, as the House recessed apparently without a deal.

** Arriving no later than early 2026, Tesla announced the commercial launch of a Tesla Semi vehicle that will make logistics fleets more efficient and environmentally friendly, as Teslarati reported. Through a partnership with PepsiCo, the food and beverage corporation is piloting 21 of them to test the performance of these battery electric vehicles.

** Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that Virginia will abandon California’s stringent vehicle emissions rules aimed at reducing carbon pollution at the end of the year when that state’s current regulations expire, citing an attorney general opinion.

** Archer Aviation said on Wednesday the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the company a certificate to begin commercial operations, making it the second electric air taxi maker to achieve the key milestone.

** California lawmakers rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s bid to include another $400 million for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in the state budget, in a political standoff that began in 2022 with a bargain to keep the Diablo Canyon Power Plant open.


** Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, likely won’t recoup pre-war gas sales for a decade, research commissioned by the company said. “The main consequences of sanctions for Gazprom and the energy industry are the contraction of export volumes, which will be restored to their 2020 level no earlier than in 2035,” the study said, seen by the Financial Times.

**  Colombia’s biggest companies are bracing for energy costs to soar in the months ahead as dwindling natural-gas production forces the nation to turn to costly imports to avoid shortfalls.

** U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called Wednesday for a “windfall” tax on profits of fossil fuel companies to help pay for the fight against global warming, calling them the “godfathers of climate chaos.” Guterres spoke in a bid to revive the world’s focus on climate change at a time when elections, inflation and conflict in places like Ukraine, Gaza and Sudan have seized the spotlight.

** Ukraine says it last lost more than 9 gigawatts of power-plant capacity across the country due to missile and drone attacks following the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022. “The situation is very serious,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a government meeting on Tuesday. The grid operator Ukrenergo has been forced to carry out scheduled power cuts due to the energy shortage.

** Ukrainian drones struck an oil refinery and a fuel depot in Russian border regions, officials in the targeted areas said Thursday, in Kyiv’s ongoing effort to disrupt the Kremlin’s war machine and as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought further Western support in Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.