Happy Friday and welcome back to Generate. Today would have been Tom Petty's 67th birthday. Rest in peace.
Ok let's get to the news, and remember your tips and feedback are always welcome at email@example.com.
As the White House tariff decision looms, Fox News personality and radio host Sean Hannity has come out against proposals for new penalties on imported solar panel equipment.
Why it matters: Hannity is friends with President Trump, and has a big platform. The White House will make the final decision on potential new import restrictions at some point after next month's recommendations from the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC had concluded in September that low-cost imports from Asia and elsewhere are harming U.S. manufacturers.
Hannity's message: He cut a radio ad that ran in South Carolina over the past two weeks that calls the tariff petition by two financially distressed panel-makers an attempt to "manipulate" trade laws, and a "bailout" that would increase prices by "government mandate."
One level deeper: The spot was commissioned by the group Solar Powers America. The group, a relatively new entrant in the renewables advocacy world, is focusing on topics including the benefits of solar energy in southeastern states, according to Bret Sowers, a board member.
Crude exports: Lately this newsletter has been looking at the surge in U.S. crude oil exports, which recently reached nearly 2 million barrels per day before dropping somewhat.
Now, a new note from RBC Capital Markets (hat tip to Platts' Herman Wang) looks at how high they could ultimately get before infrastructure limits create a ceiling. The answer is: much higher.
Aramco IPO: CNBC reports on the prospect of some clarity emerging in late October about the murky plans for the IPO of Saudi Aramco. From their item:
Shale's impact: MarketWatch takes stock of the chatter about U.S. oil production at the big Oil & Money conference in London this week.
Useful: The Dallas Fed is out with its latest snapshot of oil-and-gas activity in the Texas region.
Iran: Platts has a look at what's in store on Capitol Hill — and what it means for oil — following Trump's recent actions that effectively put the ball in Congress's court. From their piece:
EPA's ethanol blessing: "Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt assured Republicans Thursday night that he would keep the Renewable Fuel Standard intact, and would even work with them to allow more ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply year-round," The Washington Examiner reports.
Arctic drilling: The Senate approved a budget blueprint last night that paves the way for writing filibuster-proof legislation that would allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Why it matters: Republicans are at their closest point in over a decade to authorizing development in the region.The refuge is believed to have large oil deposits but environmentalists fear that drilling would disrupt the sensitive ecosystem that they have long battled to keep off-limits.
What's happening now: All eyes are on a possible deal with the House on the budget measure aimed largely at laying the groundwork for major tax policy changes.
Yes, but: Energy markets are in a very different place than they were the last time Republicans came close to opening ANWR 12 years ago, before the lower-48 shale boom took off. The level of oil industry interest in expensive Arctic projects amid modest oil prices is a wildcard even if ANWR legislation is signed into law.
New wrinkle in FERC battle: A bipartisan group of former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members is going on the offensive against Energy secretary Rick Perry's push for new power market rules that would boost compensation to coal and nuclear plants.
The Washington Post reports: "Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — including five former chairmen — have filed a letter with the commission opposing Perry's proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience so that they would have a better chance of beating solar, wind and natural gas competitors."
You can read their full comments to FERC
My Axios colleague Amy Harder passed along a few observations about what's new and what's not in Trump's Washington...
The big picture: Trump campaigned on draining the swamp, but in three different energy areas, he's taken steps that are classic Washington moves. Let's run them down:
The Energy secretary chatted with Major Garrett of CBS News on the new episode of The Takeout podcast, called "Fueling up on Donuts." It's a pretty breezy chat that roams from big picture politics and headlines to the former Texas governor's views on DOE.
Done running: Perry, who has run for president twice, ruled out the idea of challenging Sen. Ted Cruz in a 2018 primary (an idea Trump once seemed to praise) or seeking any elected office.
Defending his credentials: DOE is a massive science agency and oversees the nuclear weapons complex. Perry represents a sharp break from Obama-era DOE predecessors Ernest Moniz and Steven Chu, academics with doctorates in physics (whom he praises in the interview).
Making peace with Trump: Perry, when seeking the White House himself in the 2016 cycle, hit Trump hard and at one point called him a "cancer on conservatism." Now he has a different view.
Memory lane: Perry recalls the famous "oops" moment in 2011 when, during a presidential debate, he forgot that DOE was among the agencies he had called for eliminating. He called it "one of the more interesting things to happen in my life."
That's one way to celebrate: Amazon head Jeff Bezos tweeted this clip of himself atop a wind turbine yesterday to christen the company's latest and largest wind farm, now running in Texas.
"Amazon Wind Farm Texas includes more than 100 turbines – each over 300 feet tall with a rotor diameter more than twice the wingspan of a Boeing 787," Amazon announced.
Read more: Recode writes more here.