Tesla’s charging dominance, oil’s big year, and Ohio bribery tapes — This Week in Cleantech

Tesla’s charging dominance, oil’s big year, and Ohio bribery tapes — This Week in Cleantech
Inside a Tesla electric vehicle (Courtesy: David von Diemar/Unsplash)

This Week in Cleantech is a new, weekly podcast covering the most impactful stories in cleantech and climate in 15 minutes or less. Produced by Renewable Energy World and Tigercomm, This Week in Cleantech will air every Friday in the Factor This! podcast feed wherever you get your podcasts.

This week’s episode features reporter Renee Fox from WOSU Public Media, which launched a new podcast series chronicling the $61 million bribery scandal involving FirstEnergy and former Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Larry Householder.

This week’s “Cleantecher of the Week” is Julia McPherson, Manager of Community Relations at EDP Renewables. She builds awareness of the importance of engaging local residents in communities that are considering hosting wind and solar projects. Congratulations to Julia McPherson, our last Cleantecher of the Week for 2023.

This Week in Cleantech — Dec. 22, 2023

1. What No One at COP28 Wanted to Say Out Loud: Prepare for 1.5 Degrees — New York Times

COP28 led the world to question whether we will be able to do the energy transition fast enough to keep the 1.5-degree goal. Analysts predict a fossil fuel peak in the next decade, followed by a plateau rather than a decline, which would lead to an end-of-century warming between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius.

Anything past 1.5 degrees would increase impacts we are familiar with — frequent flooding, rising sea levels, premature deaths, increased wildfires, dying coral reefs, and more. Unfortunately, leaders worldwide are feeling less hopeful that we can avoid going over that limit.

2. Volkswagen, Audi, And Porsche Finally Commit To Using Tesla’s NACS Plug — InsideEV’s

Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Scout Motors – all in the “Volkswagen Group” – will begin to shift to the NACS electric charging plugs developed by Tesla starting in 2025. The all-new 2025 models will come with NACS ports, and they are working on adapter solutions for their existing vehicles right now as well. With these additions, nearly every major automaker is now using the same EV charging plug.

3. The United States is producing more oil than any country in history — CNN

During the 4th quarter of this year, the U.S. is set to produce 13.3 million barrels per day of crude and condensate oil. That’s not just a US record, it’s a global record. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a rise in gas prices, incentivizing U.S. companies to pump more oil. In the fight against high inflation, the Biden Administration encouraged more production to get gas prices down.

Watch the full episode on YouTube

4. US Treasury unveils rules for clean energy manufacturing subsidy — Reuters

Since August 2022, the IRA has led companies to announce $140B in clean energy manufacturing investments. This 45X tax credit under the IRA provides credit for domestically produced clean energy products like solar panels and batteries, with the credit amount depending on the type of product being manufactured. With the credit expected to create 670,000 jobs, this aligns with an analysis revealing that 69% of IRA manufacturing investments are located in counties with incomes below the national median.

SEIA was happy about these rules because they enable companies with contracted manufacturers to qualify, and provides incentives for optimizers—devices that enhance solar energy output. The National Mining Association opposed the rules for excluding raw materials, arguing that limiting credits to the supply chain’s front end could jeopardize the goal of enhancing domestic raw material supply and competing with China.

5. The Power Grab — WOSU Public Media

Former Ohio political leader Larry Householder has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning a corrupt scheme that involved accepting nearly $61 million in bribes from investor-owned electric utility FirstEnergy to pass a billion-dollar bailout for their two nuclear power plants in Ohio. Householder used (501(c)(4)) organizations, which cannot disclose where their donation money is from, to conceal the bribery money. The funds were then used for personal expenses, political support, and ensuring the success of the legislation, House Bill 6.

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This Week in Cleantech is hosted by Renewable Energy World senior content director John Engel and Tigercomm president Mike Casey. The show is produced by Brian Mendes with research support from Alex Petersen and Clare Quirin.