Bloomberg: VW Said to Buy Battery Startup Stake for Tesla Challenge

Volkswagen AG (VOW) bought a stake in battery startup QuantumScape Corp. with the aim of developing technology that can more than triple the range of its electric cars, according to people familiar with the matter.

VW is considering using the energy-storage technology, which is fireproof, for vehicles from the namesake brand as well as Porsche and Audi, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Tests to show the system is viable for cars are due to be completed in mid-2015, they said. The VW of America unit bought a 5 percent holding and has options to raise the stake, one of the people said.

New York Times: Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

Washington Post: Why the World Missed the Oil Price Crash

On Feb. 1, 2011, oil prices rose above $100 a barrel. For the next three years, they largely stayed there, with few of the dramatic ups and downs that oil markets are famous for. So when prices began falling slowly in June of this year, most industry experts shrugged. Hundred-dollar oil was here to stay, right?

That attitude has made the vicious plunge in oil prices over the past few months all the more shocking. U.S. oil production has been rising for several years; more recently, Libyan oil output has surged, too. Those increases collided with a weak global economy this summer to create a glut of oil. Late last month, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that they would not cut their own production to compensate and stabilize prices. Oil promptly fell below $70 a barrel, down 40 percent from its June peak.

But before everyone pivots from one dogmatic view of oil markets to a radically different and equally certain vision, we ought to ask: Why were so many people wrong about oil prices?

Lansing State Journal: Lawmakers at Odds Over Redefining Clean Energy

Lawmakers are at odds over a bill that would change Michigan's definition of renewable energy to count electricity generated by burning tires, used oil and industrial waste.

The Republican-backed legislation is pending in the Senate after it was approved last week on a mostly party-line vote in the House.

Michigan law requires utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and sun by the end of 2015, and Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators are expected to debate boosting the target next year.

60 Minutes: How Duke Is Handling Tons of Coal Ash Waste in North Carolina

Every year coal-burning power plants generate not only electricity, but a staggering amount of leftover coal ash that contains heavy metals unhealthy to humans. Yet due in part to intense industry lobbying, there are no federal regulations on its disposal. It's left to the states to oversee some of the most powerful utility companies in the country.

So coal ash is often just dumped into giant pits that are dug by rivers and lakes, where toxins can leach into nearby water and soil. There are over 1,000 ash pits or ponds dotting the nation, many of them old, poorly monitored, and all but forgotten. But every few years we are reminded that the status quo can lead to disaster -- like the coal ash spill this past February into North Carolina's Dan River at a power plant owned by Duke Energy, the biggest utility company in the country.