Ng Han Guan / AP

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is launching a new research nonprofit and its first project is going to be a report about America's electricity grid.

Why it matters: The new group, Energy Futures Initiative, represents the latest in a string of efforts by people outside the government to recreate policies on energy and climate change in the wake of the vacuum the Trump administration is creating. More concretely, Energy Secretary Rick Perry is also set to soon issue a study on the power grid that many renewable-energy and environmental advocates worry will be biased in favor of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Energy Department officials have said it won't be.

"I can assure you that what we produce will be analytical and transparent," Moniz told Axios in an interview, adding later about Perry's study: "We don't compare notes."

Mark your calendars: Moniz isn't in a race with his successor. Perry's study is due out as soon as next week, while Moniz's is expected in the fall.

One level deeper: Moniz said his new group will be doing work similar to what was done in an Energy Department office he created in 2013, which the Trump administration has vowed to shut down. The office of energy policy and systems analysis drove much of the department's policy-making during Moniz's reign and was led by Melanie Kenderdine, who is joining Moniz at the new group and will be focused on natural-gas markets.

The group's financial backing is likely to come from foundations, companies and others "who will like to see certain studies done," Moniz said.

"You may not always get the answer you want," Moniz said. "Objective analysis, that's the core principle."

Go deeper

Updated 17 mins ago - Science

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1700 firefighters are battling 26 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 39 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,880,896 — Total deaths: 1,012,964 — Total recoveries: 23,551,663Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,232,823 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.

CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S.

Cruise Ships docked in April at the port at Marina Long Beach due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, in California. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

There have been at least 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, "in addition to at least 41 reported deaths," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

Driving the news: The CDC released the data from the period of March 1 through Sept. 29 in an emailed statement confirming the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through Oct. 31, as first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan on Tuesday in his article revealing CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled in a push to extend the order into 2021.

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