Energy briefs

** Here’s where more of your money is going. The Biden administration announced Wednesday $375 million in funding for renewable energy projects, predominantly through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The funding, announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, includes $275 million through the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program, an IRA program devoted to renewable electrification in rural areas. The funds will go to communities in Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky and Nebraska.

** A rising push to pull energy from the world’s forests is heating the planet — despite industry claims otherwise, a new report argues. The report from Princeton researcher Timothy Searchinger and Yale economist Steve Berry cuts against the idea at the core of the growing wood pellet industry: that burning trees for fuel actually drives emissions down.

** As many municipal landfills belch out gas from decomposing organic matter, they are also releasing toxic “forever chemicals” into the air, a new study has found. Scientists measured unexpectedly high levels of airborne per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at three dumps they surveyed — demonstrating the ability of these persistent contaminants to escape into the environment.

** As climate-fueled disasters kill thousands of Americans each year, state and local prosecutors have a strong case to charge major oil companies with homicide, a new report argues.

** As he campaigned for the presidency, Joe Biden promised to spend billions of dollars to “save the world” from climate change. One of the largest players in the solar industry was ready. Executives, officials and major investors in First Solar, the largest domestic maker of solar panels, donated at least $2 million to Democrats in 2020, including $1.5 million to Biden’s successful bid for the White House. After he won, the company spent $2.8 million more lobbying his administration and Congress, records show — an effort that included high-level meetings with top administration officials.



** Low-priced Chinese EVs pose a potentially “extinction-level event’’ for America’s auto industry, the Alliance for American Manufacturing has warned. Especially worrisome: The 2020 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would potentially let Chinese cars assembled in Mexico enter the United States duty-free or at a nominal 2.5% tariff rate. Either way, China could sell its EVs well below typical U.S. prices.

** According to Reuters, Russia’s oil and gas revenue is set to surge to $9.4 billion in June, up roughly 50% from the $6 billion it took in from oil and gas sales in June of last year. That’s a big boost for the Kremlin, given that oil and gas revenues have made up as much as half of the nation’s total revenue for the past 10 years.