Monday's energy & environment stories

In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge on Aug. 2 at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" on Aug. 1, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 3, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Cadillac to unveil the Lyriq, its first all-electric model

Charging port of the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq. Courtesy of Cadillac.

On Thursday night, General Motors' luxury Cadillac unit will unveil the Lyriq, a crossover that marks Cadillac's first foray into all-electric models.

Why it matters: The stakes are high because GM is putting Cadillac at the forefront of its expanding push into electric vehicles.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 3, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Global coal-fired power generating capacity sees first half-year decline on record

A field of sunflowers is within sight of the Mehrum coal-fired power station in Germany. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The global amount of coal-fired power generating capacity fell slightly in the first half of 2020 as plant closures outpaced additions, per new data Monday from the group Global Energy Monitor.

Why it matters: It's the first half-year decline on record, Christine Shearer, the group's coal program director, writes in Carbon Brief. Coal-fired power plants are a huge source of global CO2 emissions.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors going public via SPAC deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Lordstown Motors is about to become the latest electric vehicle startup to go public via purchase by a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), the transaction structure that's fast becoming an alternative to IPOs.

The state of play: Lordstown, which plans to build a pickup truck at a former GM plant in Ohio, on Monday announced a merger agreement with DiamondPeak Holdings. The deal will provide $675 million in proceeds to help fund production of the Endurance, a model Lordstown hopes to launch in 2021 aimed largely at the commercial fleet market.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Marathon to sell Speedway gas stations to 7-Eleven for $21 billion

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Refining giant Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced late Sunday that it's selling its Speedway retail gasoline stations and convenience stores to 7-Eleven, Inc. in a $21 billion cash deal.

Why it matters: It's the year's biggest energy deal thus far, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 3, 2020 - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: It probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.