News & Events


Energy in the News: Friday, June 17

How electric vehicles can boost new markets

Fortune, feat. Mark Barteau

Here’s a look at the future of energy.

We “know” why we should drive electric cars – they’re non-polluting, right? The fallacies of that argument aside (plenty of electric cars are ultimately powered by coal), appeals to virtue have thus far been insufficient to nudge consumer choice. Automakers sold just 116,000 electric vehicles in the US last year— a 5% decline from 2014— while 6.1 million consumers drove home in new SUVs or crossovers instead. Range anxiety and consumer comfort with traditional vehicles continue to work against acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs).

Electric vehicles make up less than 0.7% of new vehicle sales today, and the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) base-case scenario projects EVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to account for an anemic 2% of new car sales in 2040. Throw in a little sex appeal – rapid acceleration and a dash of cool – and the picture may change dramatically. Deposits for the Tesla Model 3 reached 400,000 vehicles in the first two weeks after its unveiling on March 31. That’s nearly four times the US sales of all EVs and PHEVs for 2015.

Read more

Environmental benefits of biofuels are overblown, says UM researcher

Michigan Radio, feat. John DeCicco

From ethanol made with corn to diesel fuel made from soy beans, the agriculture industry loves biofuels.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also pushing biofuels. They’re seen as cleaner burning, and burning the fuels creates less of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change than do fossil fuels such as oil.

All good, right?

Well, it turns out those claims might be hyped a bit.

John DeCicco joined us today on Stateside. His research finds that these claims about biofuels are overblown.

Read more

Why won’t Clinton support a carbon tax? Trump.

E&E Publishing, feat. Barry Rabe

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton isn’t talking about one of the biggest policies on climate change, reinforcing what some say is a division among Democrats about how to achieve great cuts to carbon dioxide emissions in almost every facet of our powered life.

The policy is a carbon price. The party’s disagreements over promoting one or supporting executive orders to address rising temperatures could be illuminated as the Democratic platform is hammered out over the next five weeks, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent for the nomination, promising to prioritize policies like a carbon tax.

Read more

GOP to rule out carbon tax

The Hill, feat. Barry Rabe

House Republicans this week will vote to condemn taxes on carbon dioxide emissions, slamming the door on an idea that some members of their party have flirted with in the past.

The nonbinding resolution, sponsored by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), lists numerous problems with a carbon tax, declaring, “It is the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

The election-year proposal responds to years of pressure from Democrats and economists across the political spectrum who have endorsed the idea.

A carbon tax also has the backing of some conservatives, who argue it would be a simple way to reduce greenhouse gases without new regulations or more government.

Read more

Johnson Controls investing $780 million in advanced battery production


Johnson Controls said Monday it is investing $780 million globally between 2015 and 2020 to increase its manufacturing capacity for absorbent glass mat batteries.

The batteries, known as AGM, are used for handling increased electrical power for the increasing amount of technical features in new vehicles, especially the fuel-saving but energy-intense start-stop engines.

The five-year investment includes $245 million slated for plants in North America between 2016 and 2020, to double AGM capacity.

Read more

Ryan’s energy policy agenda requires Republican White House

Morning Consult

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released the third part of his caucus’s series of policy proposals on Tuesday, including a medley of measures to push back on virtually every major act the Obama administration has made on energy and environment.

The energy proposals don’t tread new ground for House Republicans, but instead gather bills and ideas the party could accomplish if there were a Republican in the White House. Some of the bills have already prompted veto threats from the Obama White House, including the wide-ranging energy bill passed by the House in December, and Rep. Pete Olson’s (R-Texas) bill delaying and altering the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone standards.

Read more