Electric Light & Power: Utilities, PACs Casting Plenty of Bread on the Political Waters in 2016

Many electric utilities are investing deeply into infrastructure and modernizing the power grid, but they also are putting their money into politics. Ten major utilities spent more than $250 million total on political expenditures over a five-year period beginning in 2011, according to a new report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and the Sustainable Investments Institute.

Southern Co., by far, led the way with nearly $65 million in political spending from 2011 to 2015, nearly twice as much as second-place Duke Energy at $36 million, according to the report. American Electric Power, Exelon and Next Era filled out the rest of the top half of the 10 biggest contributors, while natural-gas pipeline firm ONEOK anchored the bottom of the list by only spending about $506,000.

Market Watch: Germany May Invest $1.3 Billion in Electric Cars

Germany's finance ministry has proposed providing EUR1.2 billion (US$1.35 billion) in subsidies to recharge sluggish electric vehicle sales in Europe's largest automotive market, with the government and the car industry paying the bill, three people familiar with the matter said Monday.

The proposal comes ahead of a meeting of senior government officials and representatives from the car sector with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday to discuss providing incentives for electric-car purchases or government funds to build a national network of charging stations.

Reuters: Bankrupt SunEdison to Sell Part of Its Chile Assets to Colbun

Solar developer SunEdison, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Apr. 21, has agreed to sell two energy projects in Chile to power company Colbun for an undisclosed amount, both companies said on Tuesday.

SunEdison, once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.

Washington Post: T. Boone Pickens Says America's Oil Industry Is 'Dead in the Water'

T. Boone Pickens turns 88 years old next month. He is in the process of giving his personal fortune to charity and will joke, when asked about investments he's eyeing and trends he's worrying about, about projects that might come on-line when he hits 138. "I'm only interested in energy," he said on Monday before dinner at Bistro 8 1/2 in Manhattan, where he addressed a gathering of conservative economic enthusiasts, "and there's some good stuff out there."

Since 1980, he recalled in an interview, he has watched oil prices plunge five times worldwide. Four of those times, he said, Saudi Arabia stepped in to cut its oil production, balance the market and bring prices up again. The fifth time -- this time -- the Saudis kept pumping away, prices stayed low, and American companies let their drilling grind to a near-stop. Pickens doesn't expect them to resume anytime soon, even if prices come up a bit.

MIT Technology Review: The 5 Dumbest Things in the U.S. Energy Bill

The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, which was approved this week by the U.S. Senate and is now headed for reconciliation with the House version, contains a number of landmark provisions. Among them are the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses oil and gas royalties to preserve undeveloped areas and historic and cultural sites, and the creation of a Department of Energy program to harness resources from the private sector, academia, and the government to develop advanced nuclear reactors.

But like any big bill that’s the result of bipartisan compromise, it also includes some pork.