Welcome to Power Up. The European Commission has announced an investigation into subsidies given to China’s electric vehicle makers, who are winning an increasing share of the European market, prompting China to complain about protectionism and threaten retaliation.
EU policies encourage rapid deployment of electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse emissions, but a growing share of the market is being captured by low-cost cars made by Chinese firms. The Commission says they benefit from unfair subsidies helping them to undercut European rivals.
But European automakers have appeared ambivalent about electric vehicles and focused on limiting production and keeping prices high; the Commission probe could take over a year and buy time for them to catch up.
EU moves to protect electric vehicle manufacturers
European Commission to investigate China subsidies
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts on the day of the annual State of the European Union address to the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, September 13, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen used her high-profile state-of-the-union address to launch an investigation into whether China’s electric vehicle (EV) firms are benefiting from unfair subsidies to the detriment of EU automakers.
China’s share of the European EV market has roughly doubled to around 8% this year from the year before, as state-backed Chinese manufacturers aggressively cut prices to stimulate overseas sales while domestic demand stalled amid widespread economic worries.
China is not the only government helping EV manufacturers. The European Union itself offers an array of benefits for EV producers and consumers, including tax breaks for manufacturers, thousands of euros of subsidies per car for buyers and tax credits for households and businesses that install EV chargers, leaving itself open to the charge of hypocrisy.
But the lengthy probe will help limit the surge in imports from China and buy some time for European electric vehicle manufacturers to catch up and become more competitive.
A gas pump is inserted inside an Audi vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, U.S., March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration reached out last week to oil industry companies to assess inventory levels and learn of any planned shutdowns of refineries as they grow anxious about escalating fuel prices.
Rising gasoline costs accounted for much of the jump in U.S. inflation last month and have begun to concern the White House as Biden prepares for his re-election campaign in 2024.
“The White House wants to make sure everyone is focused here on potentialities for systemic disruptions that could create a supply problem,” a refining source involved in the talks told Reuters.
Australia LNG dispute heads towards arbitration
Chevron invokes untested law to head off strike
A general view of Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG facility in Pilbara coast, Western Australia, as seen in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on September 8, 2023. Chevron/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Chevron has asked Australia’s Fair Work Commission to intervene in its dispute with workers on strike at two major liquefied natural gas facilities, banking on new laws that came into effect in June and empower the industrial arbitrator to force parties into an agreement they are unable to reach by themselves.
Chevron has requested an “intractable bargaining declaration” which, if granted, would end strikes and allow the tribunal to hammer out an agreement, either by mandating both sides hold further talks or dictating the terms of the deal itself.
The tribunal is set to hold a hearing on September 22, but the law has never been used before, and experts say without a precedent, it is difficult to tell how the tribunal will rule.
U.S. and Iran prepare for prisoner swap
Iran to be given access to $6 billion of frozen funds
The Iranian and U.S. flags are seen printed on paper in this illustration taken January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
The United States and Iran have begun a series of carefully choreographed moves that will involve the simultaneous release of prisoners as well as unfreezing Iranian funds stuck in South Korea as a result of sanctions.
Despite lingering distrust between the two governments, Iran has said it is optimistic the prisoner exchange will take place in the near future, and the funds could be transferred from South Korea to a bank account in Qatar as early as next week.
The planned prisoner releases and funds transfers come after multiple rounds of proximity talks hosted by Qatar in recent months.
Qatar will implement a financial arrangement under which it will pay banking fees and monitor how Iran spends the unfrozen cash to ensure no money is spent on items under U.S. sanctions, and the prisoners will transit Doha when they are swapped.
Quote of the Day
“Global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her annual address to the European Parliament on September 13.
Wyoming set to become major wind generator
Coal-rich state to export wind power to west coast
The forthcoming TransWest Express transmission line will connect rural wind farms in Wyoming to load centres in California and Nevada.
After 15 years in planning and development, construction started this summer and has the potential to reshape Wyoming into a key enabler of the energy transition.
A combination of abundant open space, above-average wind speeds and relatively low domestic power consumption make Wyoming an ideal candidate for wholesale wind farms that can export power to other states.
More wind projects may emerge in the state, transforming its image from coal holdout to a key clean energy provider.
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