Reuters: Three U.S. States Sue Volkswagen, Say Execs Covered Up Diesel Cheating

Senior executives at Volkswagen AG, including its former chief executive, covered up evidence that the German automaker had cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests for years, three U.S. states charged on Tuesday in civil lawsuits against the company.

New York, Massachusetts and Maryland filed separate, nearly identical lawsuits in state courts, accusing the world's No. 2 automaker of violating their environmental laws. The lawsuits, which could lead to state fines of hundreds of millions of dollars or more, complicate VW's efforts to move past the "Dieselgate" scandal that has hurt its business and reputation, and already cost it billions of dollars.

Automotive News: Audi Plans Electric Car Push to Put Heat on Tesla

Audi will aim for electric cars to account for a quarter of its sales by 2025 as part of a strategic overhaul following the emissions scandal at parent Volkswagen Group, company sources said, in a move that could step up the challenge to Tesla Motors.

Audi, which has been slow to embrace battery-powered vehicles, will now invest about a third of its research and development budget into electric cars, digital services, and autonomous driving, two company sources told Reuters.

ClimateWire: Republican Platform Rejects Paris Climate Agreement

The platform approved by a voice vote yesterday evening doesn’t explicitly question the science behind climate change. But it calls for reduced funding for renewable energy and international adaptation programs, and it seeks an end to the global agreement reached in Paris late last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

The 66-page document also rejects the idea of an economy-wide carbon price, drawing a sharp contrast with drafts of the Democratic platform, which endorses that policy.

“We oppose any carbon tax,” the GOP platform says. “It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bills in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”

Ecogeneration: LG Chem Expands Residential Storage Series

Korean industrial giant LG Chem has expanded its range of lithium-ion residential batteries in the Australian market with new low-voltage and high-voltage variants.

The new Resu low-voltage (48-volt) models can generate between 3.3 kWh and 9.8 kWh and between 7 kWh and 9.8 kWh in the high-voltage (400-volt) variation.

The high-voltage models provide a variety of inverters to convert solar DC into AC. The move into high-voltage systems is driven by the trend of developing new inverters in high-voltage areas across LG Chem’s partners, the company said.

New York Times: How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, narrowly distributed two weeks ago, estimated that the nuclear reactors that produce 56 percent of the country’s nuclear power would be unprofitable over the next three years. If they were all to go under and be replaced with gas-fired generators, an additional 200 million tons of carbon dioxide would be spewed into the atmosphere every year.

The economics of nuclear energy are mostly to blame. It just cannot compete with cheap natural gas. Most reactors in the country are losing between $5 and $15 per megawatt-hour, according to the analysis.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not being dictated solely by markets, though. Policymakers focused on pushing renewable sources of energy above all else -- heavily subsidizing solar and wind projects, and setting legal targets for power generation from renewables -- are contributing actively to shutting the industry down. Facing intense popular aversion, nuclear energy is being left to wither.