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The Australian government is keen on an economic recovery from covid that is led by gas — used domestically and also sold to our Asian trading partners. Gas, they say, is the bridge to a cleaner future. They promote and fund gas over any form of renewable energy.

Australian conservative politicians at the federal level are keen to point out that the problem with renewable energy is that “the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.” Because the first half of this statement is obviously true, we are led to believe that the second half is also. Are renewable energy sources “lazy,” only showing up for work when they feel like it? Quite a contrast to hard-working coal and gas, eh?

Whereas the sun goes down and the solar panels stop working every night, the wind doesn’t stop blowing in the areas where it is most likely that wind turbines are situated. In fact, when you consider that the eastern states of Australia are all interconnected and cover an area of over 4 million square kilometres, it is highly likely that the wind is blowing and power is flowing into the grid somewhere.

This punches a hole in the government’s plan for a gas-led economic recovery. Gas is going up in price, and electricity from wind and solar is going down. Domestically, solar farms and wind farms are lining up to join the grid, delayed mainly by lack of interstate connectors and infrastructure to carry the power to urban areas. Both of these areas fall under federal jurisdiction. States are now taking matters into their own hands and funding these projects themselves.

That’s okay — we can export it. Not for long by the looks of the latest Japanese national energy strategy, which ramps up wind and solar and seeks to reduce the use of coal and gas. An 30% decrease is expected over the next 9 years. Japan is one of a plethora of Australia’s trading partners who have committed to net zero by 2050.

The bubble must burst soon — the sun will shine and the wind will blow — and perhaps recalcitrant politicians and their media co-conspirators will also enjoy a clean new minimal fossil fuel world with us.

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla.


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Chinese ministry says EU’s anti-subsidy EV probe made spy-like levels of ‘unreasonable demands’

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Chinese ministry says EU's anti-subsidy EV probe made spy-like levels of 'unreasonable demands'

Another day, another deeper understanding of the conversations going on behind closed doors as China and the EU approach the negotiating table as they toe the lines of a looming trade war surrounding vehicle imports and anti-subsidy probes of Chinese EVs.

June has been a noteworthy month for global EV market news, as nearly every day, we are delivered a new chapter in an ongoing saga of a looming trade war between China and the European Union.

The dispute between the two global markets began last fall when the EU Commission announced an anti-subsidy probe to determine if Chinese-made EVs imported into Europe were given an unfair advantage due to state-backed funds.

As part of the probe, the EU Commission requested information from several Chinese automakers selling their EVs in Europe, including names like NIO, BYD, XPeng, and state-owned SAIC. Even before the probe results were shared, the EU began threatening tariffs, after the US announced it would quadruple duties on Chinese imports from 25% to 100%.

In retaliation, China threatened tariffs on European imports up to 25%, particularly on gas vehicles from German automakers and other industries. Before sharing its results, the European Commission argued that three Chinese EV automakers, including SAIC, had yet to supply adequate information to the anti-subsidy probe and as a result, would face the highest tariffs (38.1%) on imports.

Across the world, China’s Ministry of Commerce is painting a different picture, calling the requested details of the EU’s anti-subsidy probe of Chinese EVs “unprecedented,” comparing the probe to espionage.

China tariffs

Chinese deem anti-subsidy EV questions spy-like

Per Reuters, China’s Ministry of Commerce has spoken out about the EU’s anti-subsidy probe on EV imports, calling the detailed information demanded from Chinese automakers “unprecedented.”

In a local news conference in China earlier today, Commerce Ministry spokesperson He Yadong said the EU Commission “mandatorily required” Chinese automakers to share advantageous information regarding sourcing raw materials for batteries, manufacturing components, developing sales channels, and their respective pricing.

When asked whether the EU Commission was using the anti-subsidy probe to spy on Chinese EV automakers, Yadong said the following:

The type, scope, and quantity of information collected by the European side was unprecedented and far more than what is required for a countervailing duties investigation.

State media CCTV is pushing a similar “spy” narrative against Brussels following an article posted Wednesday. During today’s news conference, Yadong also said that the EU’s claims that Chinese car companies like SAIC did not fully cooperate are “groundless.”

With Beijing working with European automakers to ease or stop the incoming EV tariffs and the Chinese state media accusing the EU Commission of spying, we appear to have moved beyond brinkmanship and into a potential trade war.

In addition to its own threatened tariffs on EU vehicles imported into China, Beijing has also launched a dumping investigation into EU pork imports, further raising tensions. Meanwhile, Chinese EV automakers who obliged the anti-subsidy EV probe have spoken out against the tariffs but are not wavering on their expansions in the EU markets, no matter what.

Companies like NIO have expressed confidence that they will continue to expand and sell well in Europe, whether they pay duties on each EV import or not.

The EU’s tariffs are expected to take effect on July 4, 2024. This story remains ongoing.

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BYD hits a major milestone as its Yuan brand crosses 1 million in sales

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BYD hits a major milestone as its Yuan brand crosses 1 million in sales

China’s leading EV maker, BYD, just hit another major milestone. The BYD Yuan family surpassed 1 million in sales this week, becoming its latest brand to cross the threshold.

BYD Yuan family tops 1 million in sales

BYD has been on a roll as it expands the brand into new territory. Its latest accomplishment comes as another one of its family of brands hit the 1 million sales mark.

The Yuan brand topped 1 million in sales, BYD announced Thursday. BYD’s Yuan family consists of the Yuan Plus, Yuan Up, and Yuan Pro SUVs. After launching in February 2022, the Yuan Plus (known as the Atto 3 overseas) is the first electric SUV underpinned by BYD’s e-platform 3.0 for EVs.

With starting prices under $16,500 (119,800 yuan) in China, BYD’s electric SUV competes with other top-selling models like the Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4.

As the first EV built for overseas markets, BYD’s Yuan Plus (Atto 3) has quickly become a best-seller in key markets like Europe, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and others. In September, the 500,000th Yuan Plus rolled off BYD’s assembly line.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Yuan series tops 1 million in sales (Source: BYD)

The Yuan Up went on sale in March 2024, starting at under $13,400 (96,800 yuan), while the Yuan Pro, which hit the market last May, is priced at $13,200 (95,800 yuan).

BYD’s Yuan is its latest series to hit the 1 million sales market following the Song and Qin brands.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Atto 3 (Yuan Plus) in Japan (Source: BYD)

With over 428,500 models sold last year, Yuan is one of BYD’s best-selling brands, accounting for 14% of 2023 sales. Through the first five months of 2024, BYD has sold nearly 135,000 Yuan models or roughly 10.5% of total sales.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Yuan Plus (Atto 3) EV interior (Source: BYD)

After applying for an emissions and noise certification with the South Korean environment ministry this month, BYD is expected to launch the low-cost Atto 3 (Yuan Plus) on Hyundai and Kia’s home turf, where the domestic automakers dominate the market.

Hyundai and Kia’s share fell 3.5% last year to 76.6% as new EVs like Tesla’s China-made Model Y gain momentum.

Source: CnEVPost, BYD

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More states expected to roll out Inflation Reduction Act energy-efficiency rebates this summer

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More states expected to roll out Inflation Reduction Act energy-efficiency rebates this summer

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New York is launching a program offering homeowners up to $14,000 in total rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades to their property, and more states are expected to follow suit by summer’s end.

The rebate programs are part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, the largest piece of climate legislation in U.S. history, which President Joe Biden signed in 2022.

The law earmarked $8.8 billion for consumers via two Home Energy Rebates programs.

The financial incentives help consumers reduce or fully offset the cost of upgrades to make their homes more energy-efficient, thereby reducing carbon emissions and cutting homeowners’ future energy bills, state and federal officials said.

Such projects might include installing air sealing, insulation, electric heat pumps and electric stoves, for example.

More from Personal Finance:
Here’s how to buy renewable energy from your electric utility
What the SEC vote on climate disclosures means for investors
Here’s why FEMA has spent about $4 billion to help destroy flood-prone homes

New York launched part of its rebate program on May 30, making up to $14,000 of federal funds available to low-income households.

When combined with a fledgling state program called EmPower+ — which offers up to $10,000 per low-income household — consumers can access up to $24,000 in total rebates for making energy-efficiency upgrades, according to Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

‘Several’ states will roll out rebates by September

States, territories and tribes — which administer the programs — must apply for the federal funds.

Seventeen states had applied for Home Energy Rebates funding as of June 14, according to the U.S. Energy Department. New York was the first to roll out funding to consumers.

The Energy Department expects “several more states” to make the rebates available “between now and September,” it said. The agency has approved applications submitted by California and Hawaii, the final stage before rollout.

New York’s launch “is a milestone,” said Kara Saul Rinaldi, CEO and founder of AnnDyl Policy Group, a consulting firm focused on climate and energy policy. “Over the next year we’ll be seeing these programs roll out across America.”

How the rebate program works

Climate change causes home values to fall off a cliff

The HEAR program carries a maximum dollar amount per project. For example, New York is paying the following maximum federal rebates:

  • Air sealing, insulation and ventilation: $1,600
  • Electrical service upgrade (panel box): $4,000
  • Electrical wiring upgrade: $2,500
  • Heat pump water heaters: $1,750
  • Heat pumps: $8,000

Low-income households are eligible to offset 100% of their project costs, up to $24,000 of combined federal and state funds.

These rebates are delivered via contractors, who will quote a project’s cost to consumers with rebates applied, according to Harris, of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA has a directory of qualified contractors who can make such upgrades.

New York aims to launch the second phase of the HEAR program in the fourth quarter of 2024, Harris said.

If approved by the Energy Department, the state would expand the rebate program in a few ways, she said: It would be available to moderate income residents, defined as being between 80% and 150% of area median income; to multifamily buildings; and to the purchase of electric appliances like ENERGY STAR-rated electric stoves and electric heat pump clothes dryers, which would be available at the point of sale from retailers.

Home Efficiency Rebates program

By contrast, the Home Efficiency Rebates program is technology-neutral. No state has yet launched such a program, though applications are pending with the Energy Department.

The value of the rebates are tied to how much overall energy a household saves via efficiency upgrades. The deeper the energy cuts, the larger the rebates, up to $8,000.

The program is available to all households, regardless of income

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