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Good morning and welcome back to Generate! There's a lot happening, so let's just dive right in. Oh, and your feedback and (confidential) tips are welcome at ben@axios.com.

A major new player in energy storage

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Big in business today: Siemens and AES Corp. announced Tuesday they are combining forces to create a major new energy storage industry powerhouse with a joint venture called Fluence.

Why it matters: Growth in battery storage is an important way to enable integration of more renewable energy sources, while it also can aid reliability and curb the need for additional fossil fuel generation and other infrastructure to serve peak demand.

Go deeper: "The unprecedented move marks a preemptive consolidation of power in a young industry — and a new competitor for emerging market leader Tesla," reports Greentech Media.

Synergies: Reuters notes that Siemens technology "focuses more on projects for individual companies and enterprises, such as universities and hospitals, while AES targets larger arrays that are incorporated into a region's electrical grid."

More details: The companies said their joint venture is aimed at a range of utility, commercial and industrial customers worldwide, using what's already a global footprint. The two companies have already completed or been awarded 48 projects, totalling 463 megawatts of battery storage in 13 countries.

Big in oil markets

Price warning: A new Goldman Sachs note says that oil prices could potentially tumble below $40 per barrel absent some changes in underlying market conditions, notably stronger action from OPEC to rein in production.

  • Goldman analysts say that "sustained trends in inventory draws and U.S. rig count declines or evidence of further OPEC actions will be required for prices to rally."
  • They warn that absent the necessary changes, the $40 floor could be breached "as the market tests OPEC's and shale's reaction functions."
  • Bloomberg has more here on the Goldman forecast that was making the rounds overnight.

Spending rebound: A new International Energy Agency report out Tuesday finds that spending on oil-and-gas supply projects has turned the corner this year and "rebounded modestly" after dropping 44% between 2014 and 2016.

  • In their words: "A 53% upswing in U.S. shale investment and resilient spending in large producing regions like the Middle East and the Russia Federation...has driven nominal upstream investment to bounce back by 6% in 2017 (a 3% increase in real terms)."
  • However, IEA also warned of a "two-speed" market, with the U.S. shale spending contrasting with "stagnation" elsewhere in the world.
  • On a related note, the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie said in a short note late Monday night that the number of upstream oil-and-gas projects reaching final investment approvals could double this year.

Breaking Tuesday: Global energy investment drops

International Energy Agency

The big picture: A huge new IEA report on global energy investment trends released Tuesday morning has all kinds of interesting data (not just the oil project spending I mentioned above).

Some topline notes...

  • Total worldwide energy investment fell 12% to $1.7 trillion in 2016 compared to the prior year, largely due to lower oil-and-gas spending.
  • Spending on energy efficiency actually ticked up 9% and spending on electricity networks (think grid modernization infrastructure and transmission) rose too, but that was more than offset by the drop in upstream oil-and-gas and lower power generation spending, led by the drop in coal-plant investment.
  • "The electricity sector edged ahead of the fossil fuel supply sector to become the largest recipient of energy investment in 2016 for the first time ever," IEA said.

A summary is available here.

Green bang for the buck: Investment in new renewable power capacity fell somewhat to $297 billion, but the overall number doesn't tell the whole story. "While renewable investment is also 3% lower compared with five years ago, it will generate 35% more power thanks to cost declines and technology improvements in solar PV and wind," IEA notes.

But glass half-empty on climate: IEA notes that while carbon emissions were again level last year, investment in carbon-free power is not keeping up with global demand growth. "Growth in new wind and solar PV generation growth is almost entirely offset by a slowdown in final investment decisions for new nuclear and hydropower expected in the coming years."

Climate article goes big time — and draws pushback

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Buzzing right now: A deeply reported, deeply pessimistic New York Magazine cover piece on global warming titled "The Uninhabitable Earth" has set the climate policy world buzzing since it went up Sunday night.

David Wallace-Well's piece makes the case that human-induced climate change is on such a dangerous pathway that, absent far more aggressive action, "parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century."

Yes, but: The piece is getting some pushback in climate science and journalism circles.

  • Penn State's Michael Mann, one of the world's most prominent climate scientists, posted a rebuttal that criticizes the "doomist framing" and says the piece "paints an overly bleak picture by overstating some of the science."
  • Over at Mashable, veteran climate journalist Andrew Freedman writes that in some places, the piece exaggerates evidence or makes mistakes. His verdict? "It's still worth reading, but with a sharp critical eye."

From Amy’s notebook: Grid needs tweaks, not overhaul

My Axios colleague Amy Harder was near Philadelphia on Monday to tour the headquarters of PJM Interconnection, the regional electric transmission organization coordinating the movement of electricity across most of the Eastern seaboard and parts of the Midwest. Here's her dispatch...

Big picture: America's power grid is managing well the vast changes happening in the nation's electricity mix and renewables aren't risking blackouts, Stu Bresler, senior vice president for operations and markets at PJM, told reporters over lunch in one of the headquarters' nondescript office buildings.

"The markets are working very well. They are providing reliable electricity at good costs," Bresler said, adding later he hasn't seen intermittent renewable electricity threaten reliability.

Why it matters: Bresler's comments provide a reality check to the more critical comments about renewables coming from Energy secretary Rick Perry and other Trump administration officials ahead of the Energy Department's study on the electric grid, which is due out within the next week or so.

One level deeper: Bresler said there are ways the government, along with PJM and utilities, can help ensure renewables are integrated safely, along with managing retiring nuclear and coal plants. However, he said, these would call for relatively minor changes, and not a big overhaul like the Trump administration has suggested might be in order.

On my screen

Natural gas: A pair of analysts at Resources For the Future have a new paper that explores options for cutting emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane from the natural gas sector. The paper arrives as the Trump administration is abandoning Obama-era methane regs.

  • The paper surveys the economics and environmental benefits of various options, but in particular notes that a tax that assumes "default" leakage rates "performs particularly well in terms of economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness. "
  • Why it matters: Natural gas produces far less CO2 emissions than coal when burned for electricity, but methane leaks further up the development chain (notably production and transmission) erode some of those climate benefits.

'Dominance' backlash: The latest analyst to quibble with Trump-world's energy "dominance" mantra is UC Berkeley's Maximilian Auffhammer. In a new blog post, he notes that the U.S. lacks key ingredients for market "dominance" — an appetite for federal supply controls or enough market share to dictate price.

  • If you're on the go: Veteran analyst Kevin Book breaks down the idea of energy "dominance" in the latest podcast from Platts Capitol Crude.

Finance: Researchers at Duke's Nicholas Institute for the Environment looked under the hood of "environmental impact investing" and find there's not much consistency in how the effects are measured, which makes it very tough to see whether it's making a difference.

Utilities: The New York Times has a look at the effort by a hedge fund to block Warren Buffett's bid for Energy Future Holdings.

Latest in lobbying

A few new filings of note in the Lobbying Disclosure Act database...

Utilities: The Edison Electric Institute, which represents for-profit power companies, has brought on Miller & Chevalier to lobby on tax reform.

Cars: The Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment has tapped David E Schaffer Associates to lobby on promoting the use of zero-emissions vehicles.

Mining: Tahoe Resources has hired the firm Nossaman LLP to lobby on domestic and international issues affecting the mining industry.

Conservation: The Wilderness Society has retained Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.

Featured

Mulvaney: Trump "doesn't know who to believe" on Moore allegations

Screenshot of Mick Mulvaney on "Meet the Press" with Andrea Mitchell.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, both attempted on Sunday to explain President Trump's silence on the accusations of child sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct against GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore:

  • Mulvaney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Trump "doesn't know who to believe," and "thinks that the voters of Alabama should decide."
  • Short said on ABC's "This Week" that "the president has expressed his concern" about the allegations against Moore: "As you noted, the president has not gone down to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore since the primary concluded. We have serious concerns about the allegations that have been made, but we also believe that all of this info is out there for the people of Alabama."
Why it matters: The RNC has pulled its support from Moore and most high-ranking Republicans have repudiated him. Trump hasn't, but he has weighed in on the allegations against Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
Featured

Zimbabwe dictator Mugabe to resign after 37 years in power

Zimbabweans sing and pray at a Christian peace and prayer rally Sunday in Harare. Photo: Ben Curtis / AP

Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old dictator who led Zimbabwe for 37 years, will resign tonight, Reuters reports. He has already been removed as the leader of his party and early today was negotiating his resignation with military leaders, per the NY Times.

Mugabe was facing impeachment if he did not resign. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was Zimbabwe's vice president until Mugabe precipitated the coup by placing his wife next in line for the presidency, appears poised to take control. He is known as a ruthless strongman.

Sunday Times of London lead story, "Fear is gone as the people turn on 'thief' Mugabe ... Zimbabweans unite against the tyrant who enslaved them," by Chief Foreign Correspondent Christina Lamb:

  • "It felt like a revolution. They came from all over the country and all walks of life. Young and old, opposition activists and party apparatchiks, white farmers and black war veterans, housewives and their maids."
  • "The slow-motion coup that began when the army arrested President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday was not yet over, but everyone knew that his own party was preparing to remove him."
  • Why it matters: "In 20 years of reporting on Zimbabwe I have never seen anything like it. This country has infuriated me like no other. The people are incredibly friendly but I have watched them vote for a ruling party that made their lives a nightmare — for fear of being beaten or their daughters being raped."
Featured

Broadcom and Qualcomm move forward on other deals

Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia Commons

Broadcom hasn't yet gotten a "yes" on its takeover approach for Qualcomm, but both chipmakers are moving forward on other deals that could smooth their path to a mega-merger:

  • Broadcom on Friday closed its $5.5 billion purchase of networking switch maker Brocade, which was first announced last November.
  • Qualcomm is set to win "imminent" Japanese antitrust approval for its $38 billion takeover of Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors, according to Reuters, with European approval expected by year-end.

Key move: Broadcom's recent decision to redomicile from Singapore to the U.S. seems to have gotten it over the final regulatory hurdles to buying California-based Brocade, as it had received antitrust approval in July but refiled in October with a U.S. body that oversees foreign investments. It also should aid in buying Qualcomm — although first it needs to make a higher offer.

Featured

System failure on the NYC subway

A northbound #1 on Oct. 31. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

A front-page story from the NY Times' Brian Rosenthal, Emma Fitzsimmons and Michael LaForgia breaks down "How Politics and Bad Decisions Starved New York's Subways," starting with "a perennial lack of investment in tracks, trains and signals."

  • Wait, what? "[T]he actual movement of trains [relies] on a 1930s-era signal system with fraying, cloth-covered cables." (See the archaic equipment.)
  • "Daily ridership has nearly doubled in the past two decades to 5.7 million, but New York is the only major city in the world with fewer miles of track than it had during World War II."
  • "New York's subway now has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world ... Just 65 percent of weekday trains reach their destinations on time, the lowest rate since the transit crisis of the 1970s."
  • "Reporters for The Times reviewed thousands of pages of state and federal documents, including records that had not previously been made public; built databases to compare New York with other cities; and interviewed more than 300 people."
  • Let 'em out!

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Roger Toussaint, former head of the MTA's main union, on what he sees as a focus on flashy subway projects instead of maintenance: "They haven't been spending money on the spine. They've been spending money on the limbs."

P.S. "Conductors on [New York] subway trains have been told to stop addressing passengers as 'ladies and gentlemen' when making announcements about delays, detours or other things, and instead use the gender-neutral terms 'passengers,' 'riders,' and 'everyone.'" (AP)

Featured

Weinstein dominos, updated

Top: Harvey Weinstein, former Amazon Studios head Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh. Middle: fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wieseltier, Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore. Bottom: filmmaker Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven, Dustin Hoffman. (AP)

Some stories move so fast and far, we lose sight of the scale. So here's a freeze-frame on a defining story of our time: Men accused of sexual misconduct post-Weinstein, compiled by AP (click for details on each):

Entertainment:

  • Celebrity chef John Besh
  • Comedian Louis C.K.
  • Cinefamily executives Hadrian Belove and Shadie Elnashai
  • Actor Richard Dreyfuss: One woman alleges sexual harassment. He denies the allegation.
  • Director-producer Gary Goddard
  • Casting employee Andy Henry
  • Actor Dustin Hoffman: Accused by woman of sexual harassing when she was 17. He has apologized.
  • Actor Robert Knepper
  • Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg
  • Actor Jeremy Piven: Accused by three women of sexual misconduct. He denies all allegations.
  • Filmmaker Brett Ratner
  • Comedy festival organizer Gilbert Rozon
  • Producer Chris Savino
  • Actor Steven Seagal: Accused by two women of rape. He denies the allegations.
  • Actor Tom Sizemore: Accused of groping an 11-year-old actress in 2003. Utah prosecutors declined to file charges, citing witness and evidence problems. He denies the allegation.
  • Actor Kevin Spacey
  • Actor Jeffrey Tambor
  • Actor George Takei
  • Writer-director James Toback
  • "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner
  • Actor Ed Westwick

Media, publishing and business:

  • Billboard magazine executive Stephen Blackwell
  • Penguin Random House art director Giuseppe Castellano
  • New Republic publisher Hamilton Fish
  • Mark Halperin
  • Artforum publisher Knight Landesman
  • NPR news chief Michael Oreskes
  • Amazon executive Roy Price
  • Webster Public Relations CEO Kirt Webster
  • Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner: Accused by one man of sexual harassment. He says he did not intend to make the accuser uncomfortable.
  • New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier
  • NBC News booking exec Matt Zimmerman
Politics:
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
  • Senate candidate Roy Moore (R.-Ala.)
  • Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel: Accused of sexually inappropriate comments and behavior toward a number of women, Bittel resigned Friday.
  • Florida Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens resigned after a report that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.
  • Florida Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala is being investigated by the Senate over allegations of harassment and groping. Latvala has denied the allegations.
  • Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover
  • British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
Sports:
  • International Olympic Committee member Alex Gilady
  • Former South African soccer association president Danny Jordaan
  • Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter
P.S. L.A. Times front page today: "[Brett] Ratner, [Russell] Simmons face new allegations of misconduct: Powerful Hollywood friends shared party lifestyle."
Featured

Senate tax plan's winners and losers

CNBC screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Winners, per AP's Marcy Gordon, beginning with a big win for wealthy individuals and their heirs:
  • Corporations win all around, with a tax rate slashed from 35% to 20% in both bills — though they'd have to wait a year for it under the Senate measure.
  • U.S. oil companies with foreign operations would pay reduced taxes under the Senate bill on their income from sales of oil and natural gas abroad.
  • Beer, wine and liquor producers would reap tax reductions under the Senate measure.
  • Companies that provide management services like maintenance for aircraft.

Losers:

  • An estimated 13 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage under the Senate bill, which would repeal the "Obamacare" requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance.
  • People living in high-tax states would be hit by repeal of federal deductions for state and local taxes under the Senate bill, and partial repeal under the House measure. That's the result of a compromise allowing the deduction of up to $10,000 in property taxes.
  • Many families making less than $30,000 a year would face tax increases starting in 2021 under the Senate bill, according to Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. By 2027, families earning less than $75,000 would see their tax bills rise, while those making more would enjoy reductions.
Featured

FBI report on "black identity extremists" raises civil rights fears

AP's Jon Elswick

"An FBI report on the rise of black 'extremists' is stirring fears of a return to practices used during the civil rights movement, when the bureau spied on activist groups," AP reports:

  • "The 12-page report, issued in August, says 'black identity extremists' are increasingly targeting law enforcement after police killings of black men ... It warned that such violence was likely to continue."
  • "Black leaders and activists were outraged after Foreign Policy revealed the existence of the report last month."
  • Why it matters: "The Congressional Black Caucus, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the report 'conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations' and would further erode the frayed relationship between police and minority communities."
  • "A similar bulletin on white supremacists ... came out about the same time."
  • "The FBI noted it issued a similar bulletin warning of retaliatory violence by 'black separatist extremists' in March 2016, when the country had a black president, Barack Obama, and black attorney general, Loretta Lynch."
Featured

Life under Kim Jong-un

In Pyongyang, a North Korean uses his smartphone in front of portraits of the late leaders Kim Il Sung (left) and Kim Jong Il. (2015 photo by AP's Wong Maye-E)

In six months of interviews in South Korea and Thailand, Anna Fifield, the Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief, talked with more than 25 North Koreans from different walks of life who lived in Kim Jong-un's North Korea and managed to escape. What she found:

  • "They paint a picture of a once-communist state that has all but broken down, its state-directed economy at a standstill."
  • "Today, North Koreans are making their own way, earning money in an entrepreneurial and often illegal fashion."
  • The "Aha!" moment: "Market activity is exploding, and with that comes a flow of information, whether as chitchat from traders who cross into China or as soap operas loaded on USB sticks. And this leads many North Koreans to dream in a way they hadn't before."
Featured

Every industry identifying its creeps

Participants at the #MeToo March in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

There has been an outpouring of sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks, spanning from politics to the music industry and the restaurant business. Every industry is scrambling to identify the men behaving badly and do something about it.

Why it matters: It's a clear picture of just how widespread this problem is. From the TED talk empire, to Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, and the U.K. defense secretary, there is no one industry or field that isn't affected by sexual harassment.

Politics

Tech

Restaurants

Advertising

Hollywood

Hotels

  • The Huffington Post reported a study that revealed a majority of Chicago-area hospitality industry employees had been sexually harassed by a guest, had a guest touch or try to touch them, and more.

Science

  • Sexual harassment in the field of scientific research is prevalent, per Vox, when studies occur in remote workplaces (like Antarctica).

Music

  • Kirt Webster, major country music publicist, left his company after sexual assault allegations.

Media

  • Mark Halperin lost his book and HBO show deal, as well as contributing position with MSNBC, after five women accused him of harassment during his time at ABC.
  • NPR news chief Michael Oreskes resigned after two women accused him of sexual misconduct and harassment.
  • New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier lost financial backing on his coming magazine after being accused of sexual harassment.

Fashion

Sports