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U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Seeks Public Feedback to Define Inadequate Electric Service Areas

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek stakeholder input on factors to consider in relation to defining “an area where there is inadequate electric service,” which will inform future eligibility criteria for WPTO’s Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program.

“Through this RFI, the U.S. Department of Energy seeks input from different community perspectives on what they consider to be ‘inadequate electric service’ to help us determine how to support clean, hydroelectric power serving areas where access to energy is often unreliable or expensive,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman.

Section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-58) established an incentive payment program to benefit owners of qualified hydroelectric facilities who add electrical generation equipment to existing dams. Section 3005 of the Energy Act of 2020 (Pub. L. 116-260) then amended Section 242 by expanding the definition of a qualified hydroelectric facility to include certain facilities “constructed in an area in which there is inadequate electric service,” which requires the Secretary to take into consideration (a) access to the electric grid; (b) the frequency of electric outages; or (c) the affordability of electricity.

Because there is no widely adopted definition for these terms, this RFI seeks information from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on factors that should be considered in enhancing WPTO’s proposed definition as follows:

“An area in which there is inadequate electric service means a geographic area that lacks access to an interconnected electrical grid or where a customer may not reasonably access electrical energy services; is subject to frequent electric outages, based on common reliability metrics; or where the cost of electricity is significantly above the typical residential electricity cost.”

Defining this term will allow the Section 242 Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program to be executed, and increase access to clean, hydroelectric power to U.S. citizens in communities with inadequate electric services. This may include rural, remote, and underserved communities.

Responses are due September 7, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. ET.

View the full RFI on Energy Exchange.

Article courtesy of Office of ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/10/u-s-office-of-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy-seeks-public-feedback-to-define-inadequate-electric-service-areas/

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Why Wait To Buy A Tesla When You Could Win One?

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It’s no question that the future of driving is electric. Be a part of it by entering our 6th Annual Climate XChange Tesla Raffle! 

This year’s raffle is our largest yet, with a grand prize totaling $227,000+ including all taxes paid for, of course. We’re also offering four cash prizes, giving you four additional chances to win! Each ticket purchased funds our nonprofit’s work of enabling state-level policy to take on the climate crisis. Without ticket buyers like yourself, we wouldn’t be where we are today — and we definitely can’t get to where we’re going without your continued support. 

Traditional car manufacturers are now finally trying to catch up to industry disruptors like Tesla by creating new lines of all-electric vehicles or transitioning their classics from the pump to a plug. In states like California and Massachusetts, these manufacturers must legally make the transition by 2035. With transportation being one of the major sources of climate-warming pollution, we’re supporting the EV revolution by adding one lucky new Tesla owner to the road each year. With our Sixth raffle, our winner will have the chance to drive away in Tesla’s newest and highest-performing car yet, the Model S Plaid. 

Total Prize Pool Value: $227,615 

GRAND PRIZE: 

Your choice of: Tesla Model S Plaid all-electric luxury performance sedan or Model X SUV or Model 3 Midsize Sedan or Model Y Midsize SUV with any options 

Max car total (which is for Model S Plaid) = $150,190 

Max Tax Payments = $77,425 

Total Value = $227,615 

Tax Breakdown for Max Payments: 

MA Sales Tax: $9,687 

Registration Fee: $300 

Federal Prize Taxes: $56,900 

MA Prize Taxes: $10,839 

2nd Prize $10,000 

3rd Prize $5,000 

4th Prize $3,000 

5th Prize $2,000 

BUY TICKETS 

This year, we’ve seen the climate crisis lay bare the impacts of a warming world, reinforcing the need to take action. Wildfires in the West have become the norm as the ever-increasing infernos ravage states year after year. In the East, we’re experiencing another extremely active hurricane season that brings destruction to coastal communities, and even major cities. The climate crisis is not some faraway threat, it’s here now. That’s why fighting for decarbonization has never been more critical, and your ticket gives you a piece of the action. 

Photo courtesy of Matt Pasker.

Climate XChange is already doing the work to help guide states towards meaningful climate action. Our researchers are delving into how states’ economic recovery initiatives can prioritize public infrastructure and community investments that reduce planet-warming emissions and improve communities’ quality of life. Our State Climate Policy Network (SCPN) convenes over 16,000 activists, legislators, business leaders, scientists, academics, and the like to drive innovation and cross-collaboration to campaigns pushing for climate policies across U.S. states. We also have organizers on the ground in both Massachusetts and Maryland who are leading diverse coalitions in support of policies that will move the needle on climate change. 

Learn more about Climate XChange.

Your ticket directly supports and helps us get the message out about this important work. It gives us the tools that we need to be successful in achieving our mission, but we need your help now to sustain this work and support widespread climate action — and we give you the chance to win something in return, too! This is our sixth time raffling off a Tesla, and we love that it both helps support our mission and puts another electric vehicle driver on the road. 

So, why wait to buy into the EV revolution when you can win it? Get your tickets now.

This article is supported by Climate XChange.

Feature image courtesy of Matt Pasker.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/19/why-wait-to-buy-a-tesla-when-you-could-win-one/

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The Roots & Myths of the Tesla–Union Controversy

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Controversy regarding Tesla and unionization started in 2018 when the UAW (the United Auto Workers union) claimed that Tesla fired a worker for trying to set up a union. We’ll get to that and other union-related actions and tweets in this article to provide much more context to this overarching discussion, a discussion that’s typically oversimplified with one or two broad claims.

Today, Tesla is still being punished for myths and propaganda on this topic, and FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) is still being spread about Elon Musk’s actions related to it.

In 2018, Elon responded to someone on Twitter who asked what the benefits of working for Tesla are. Elon pointed out that Tesla has always provided healthcare, hourly wages that are higher than union rates, and even Tesla stock. Also included are free drinks and snacks. Many seem to think that Tesla treats its employees rather harshly, but this seems like quite a compelling pitch. It was less than a month earlier that the Tesla–union controversy seemed to arise.

Elon Musk’s Tweets About Tesla Employees Unionizing

In 2018, Elon Musk shared his thoughts about unions in various replies to tweets accusing him of being anti-union. Joe Marshal asked Elon when he would allow workers to form a union, to which Elon replied,

“They can form a union whenever they want & there’s nothing I can do to stop them. California is a very pro-union state. They just don’t want to.”

This is a key thing that many critics seem to miss. It’s not up to Elon whether Tesla employees form a union or not. It’s up to employees. In fact, Elon and other Tesla execs are not legally allowed to interfere with employees creating a union.

Joe replied with an article detailing UAW accusations that Tesla fired workers who wanted to unionize. Keep in mind the year: 2018. Elon responded to this as well.

“About 2% of Tesla, incl salaried & hourly, union & non-union were let go in annual review. Only known union person fired was a guy who repeatedly threatened non-union supporters verbally & on social media & lied about it.”

In a report by Reveal, it was falsely claimed that Tesla didn’t have any yellow safety lines on the factor floor. When asked about hating the color yellow, which was a claim made by the report, Elon clarified:

“Tesla factory literally has miles of painted yellow lines & tape. Report about forklifts not beeping is also bs. These are both demonstrably false, but were reported as ‘facts’ by Reveal.”

Someone else replied that yellow lines are fine, but what about unions? And Elon said:

“Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.” [Note: It was later determined by the National Labor Relations Board that this tweet violated labor laws and must be deleted.]

Again, Elon pointed out that the decision to unionize or not is out of his hands. That’s a choice for company workers to make. Though, he did get dinged by the National Labor Relations Board for discouraging unionization with that tweet.

Elon also pointed to a now-deleted tweet by Parker Malloy that he never stopped a union vote.

“I’ve never stopped a union vote nor removed a union. UAW abandoned this factory. Tesla arrived & gave people back their jobs. They haven’t forgotten UAW betrayed them. That’s why UAW can’t even get people to attend a free BBQ, let alone enough sigs for a vote.”

UAW Corruption

Earlier today, The Washington Post shared an opinion piece on the corruption that is threatening Detroit’s comeback story. The article discussed the crookedness of politicians and labor-union corruption both being greeted with a yawn and the attitude of “What else is new?”

When Walter Reuther was the president of UAW, it was regarded as a clean organization for decades. That image has been tarnished by former presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, who are serving prison sentences for embezzling millions of dollars in union funds. The IRS found that they were part of a group of union officials that spent workers’ money on lavish entertainment, including extravagant meals, golf, and personal travel.

The IRS noted that between 2010 and 2018, Jones and other UAW officials submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW’s Detroit headquarters for spending on Region 5 leadership and training conferences. The IRS found that these conferences concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds spent on personal spending and lavish entertainment.

So, while the UAW was falsely accusing Tesla of trying to prevent employees from unionizing, their leaders were stealing money.

Another example of corruption was shared by WardsAuto, which noted that Stellantis member FCA was fined $30 million in corruption scandals. Stellantis was one of the automakers invited to that sweet little White House EV press event recently.

In March 2021, FCA pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act. FCA wanted to win UAW leaders’ favor by giving them millions of dollars in gifts and cash. FCA conspired to make illegal payments to UAW officers who would use the funds for personal expenses. Mortgages, extravagant entertainment, lavish parties for the UAW International Executive Board — nothing was off limits. Italian-made shotgun designer shoes, clothing, and other items were bought with credit cards issued by the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center.

Final Thoughts

I think that the UAW is trying to punish Tesla employees for not wanting to unionize. It seems to be attacking the very people it says it wants to “protect.”

Tesla pay rates are higher than UAW pay rates. This seems to not matter to President Biden, who is a union guy. There’s nothing wrong with supporting unions in general — they are supposed to be a good thing, after all. The idea of making the workplace fair, safe, and more competitive in terms of pay is actually a good thing. However, reality can be messy.

UAW’s past attempts to tarnish Tesla due to Tesla’s employees not wanting to unionize, coupled with its power in the White House, shows that it really doesn’t care about the employees at all.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/19/the-roots-myths-of-the-tesla-union-controversy/

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GM Tells Bolt Owners To Park 50 Feet Away From Other Cars, Extends EV Production Halt

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General Motors (GM) has told some of its Chevy Bolt owners to park 50 feet away from other cars so they won’t be at risk if a spontaneous fire breaks out, Bloomberg has reported. The automaker has recalled around 142,000 Bolts sold since 2016 because the batteries could catch on fire. This has cost GM $1.8 billion so far and the article noted that owners will be even more upset by the news since they are already limiting the use of their Bolt so that it doesn’t overheat the battery.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified 13 fires in Bolts. GM said that the fires are rare and are the result of two defects that are caused by a manufacturing problem in LG plants in Michigan and South Korea.

One day after this bit of news, Reuters reported that GM extended the production halt at its Orion Assembly plant until October 15th. It’s also cutting production at six other North American assembly plants due to the semiconductor chip shortage. Reuters added that the company has no plans to resume Bolt production or sales until it is satisfied that the recall will address the fire risk issue. It’s not know how long GM will need in order to get replacement battery modules for the recalled Bolts. The company said that the additional three-week production halt at its Bolt plant comes as it continues “to work with our supplier to update manufacturing processes.”

Some GM Bolt Owners No Longer Want Their EV

Upon hearing the news that they pretty much can’t use their car, some GM Bolt owners are selling their EVs back to GM. CNN, also noting that GM had recommended that Bolt owners restrict the use of their cars to avoid straining the batteries and park them away from their homes, conducted an interview with a few Bolt owners. One said that they were not comfortable having the vehicle at this point and that GM didn’t even know how long this would take to resolve.

GM’s customer service was also lacking and one Bolt owner was on hold for almost an hour. Another one was worried about the safety of her home if her car were to have suddenly ignited, so GM offered her a 150-foot charging cable. This person was told by another GM dealer that such a cable didn’t even exist. Other Bolt owners were reportedly asking for buybacks. For those wanting GM to buy back the car, it’s reportedly a time consuming process involving a lot of paperwork — and GM may not even buy back the car.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/19/gm-tells-bolt-owners-to-park-50-feet-away-from-other-cars-extends-ev-production-halt/

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Tesla’s Autopilot Saves More Lives: Suspected DUI Driver Passed Out While Driving & Was Safely Stopped

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Tesla’s Autopilot feature is not perfect, but it has already saved countless lives. Yesterday, the life of a woman who passed out while driving and the lives of the police who attempted to stop the car were potentially saved. The lives of those on the highway were also possibly saved, thanks to Autopilot’s ability to keep the car safe and stop driving when necessary.

ABC7 reported that the driver of a Tesla who passed out while driving was taken into custody. The woman was suspected of drunk driving. The vehicle hit a roadside wall just after 11:00 pm and kept traveling with an unconscious driver. The California Highway Patrol incident log noted that the vehicle was traveling at slow speeds and eventually stopped after a CHP vehicle stopped directly in front of the Tesla.

ABC7‘s John Gregory pointed out that it seemed as if Autopilot worked correctly.

“It sounds like the Autopilot feature stopped the way it should have and it’s something they’re going to see more and more of as more Teslas and other cars like them hit the road.”

The news station was able to obtain the audio from dispatch who said,

“The reporting party is advising that his wife is unconscious in a Tesla. The vehicle is driving itself.

“It ended up TC’ing into the right shoulder wall, and, uh, still continuing.

“The Tesla is slowing down to approximately 60 miles an hour and I guess there’s vehicles in front of it. That’s what’s causing the vehicle to slow down.”

Gregory explained that CHP patrol cars pulled in front of the vehicle on the 134 connector to the 5 Freeway and that Autopilot slowed the Tesla to a stop. The driver was taken into custody and is now facing DUI charges. Gregory added that the car can steer for you and brake for you, but it can’t pay fines for you.

I’ve included statistics from the NHTSA on drunk driving in several other articles many times already, so I will spare the choir from the repetitive sermon. However, I think what Eva Fox from Tesmanian wrote is very much on point here.

“Regardless of whether the car has Autopilot or not, some people sometimes drive drunk. Drunk driving is a serious problem. Alcohol has long been known as a roadway killer.

“Tesla Autopilot can have a significant impact on the consequences of drunk driving. With advanced functions, it not only monitors the safety of the vehicle on the road but can also stop the vehicle if the driver shows signs of inattention and does not respond to warning signals. Tesla Autopilot saves lives.”

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/18/teslas-autopilot-saves-more-lives-suspected-dui-driver-passed-out-while-driving-safely-stopped/

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