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βœ… Tuesday. Today we roam widely but travel fast, with just 1,119 words, 4 minutes.

🍎 This June 5, we're bringing our AI+ Summit to NYC for Tech Week in partnership with Tech:NYC. Request an invite to hear from leaders shaping the future of AI.

🎡 This week marks 35 years since The Stone Roses released their self-titled debut album, which provides today's intro tune...

1 big thing: A mysterious AI + weather tie-up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Spire Global, a firm that utilizes data from its satellites and leverages artificial intelligence to generate weather forecasts, is turning to the financial sector for customers.

Driving the news: The firm yesterday announced a deal with an unnamed financial firm that it says is priced in the multimillion-dollar range. It signals how quickly new technology is reshaping a critical industry.

  • A Spire spokesperson declined to give Axios more information on the deal.

Zoom in: According to a statement, Spire will provide the firm with its high-resolution weather forecast model, which utilizes data gathered from space, while also developing an AI-powered model for long-range forecasting.

  • The company is one of multiple weather and climate companies to enter into partnerships with Nvidia to develop a computer modeling platform, as well as train and run AI-based weather models.

The intrigue: AI-based weather and climate models have several advantages over traditional, physics-based ones.

  • Speed is a huge one, since they can be run far faster and do not require supercomputers to crunch their data.
  • Most AI weather and climate models are trained on historical data and use it as a basis for predicting future conditions.

Yes, but: Many of these companies say they are leveraging AI to produce more accurate forecasts, though their models are essentially a black box.

  • In the case of Spire, the model and the business deal are a black box, illustrating the murky conditions the AI revolution may be pushing weather and climate companies into.
  • Spire is publicly traded, so it wants to let its shareholders know that it is inking big deals; yet it is doing so in this case without including any specifics.

What they're saying: "Having spent my career in the field of weather, I'm amazed at the rapid pace by which we're seeing AI transform weather forecasting, especially when paired with proprietary data that can only be collected from space," Michael Eilts, general manager of weather and climate at Spire, said in a statement.

What we're watching: How quickly AI techniques push weather and climate forecasting into uncharted waters.

Go deeper

2. Energy Department explores promise, peril of AI

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Department of Energy is taking a slew of steps to harness nascent artificial intelligence technologies while preventing an energy crunch.

Why it matters: The DOE, with its national labs and supercomputing facilities, is uniquely positioned among government agencies to leap from research to applications.

  • The agency is contemplating putting AI to work to make the electrical grid more productive and efficient, to more effectively anticipate problems, and even to speed up permitting.

Zoom in: The announcements made yesterday came in response to an executive order President Biden issued last year.

In addition, DOE issued a report yesterday on how it initially plans to utilize AI as an agency. It identified near-term opportunities for AI to help manage grids via planning, permitting, operations, reliability and resilience.

  • "The electrical grid of the United States is among the most complex machines on Earth," the report states.
  • DOE also sees AI as potentially supporting use cases that meet the country's climate goals.
  • For example, it identifies AI as a tool to improve forecasts of renewable energy production, and for planning networks of charging stations.

Case in point: On the permitting front, the agency sees large language models (LLMs) as potentially assisting federal permitting compliance and review tasks.

Yes, but: The DOE finds that managing the potential downsides of AI, including the possibility of damaging the grid or other infrastructure, will be a key priority.

Read more

3. Charted: Coal and the G7

Coal share of electricity generation in G7 countries
Data: Ember; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

The G7 energy and climate ministers' new goal to phase out coal-fired power "during the first half of 2030s" will be easier for some members to achieve than others.

4. Biden completes permitting rule

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The White House today unveiled final rules to speed up permitting for infrastructure projects β€” including transmission and low-carbon energy.

Why it matters: Accelerating timelines that often drag on for years would help realize the goals of the Democrats' 2022 climate law and the bipartisan 2021 infrastructure deal.

State of play: The Council on Environmental Quality rules, which implement permitting language in last year's debt ceiling agreement, include:

  • Wider use of "categorical exclusions," i.e. classes of projects exempt from detailed environmental review. It allows one agency to adopt exclusions used by another.
  • New deadlines and page limits for environmental studies and encouraging "programmatic" analyses that reduce project-specific study needed.
  • The rule requires agencies to focus on environmental justice.

It adds to other ways Biden officials say they're giving more resources and attention to getting projects across the finish line.

  • That includes roughly $1 billion in the 2022 law. Just yesterday the Federal Permitting Council announced $30 million for IT projects to boost efficiency.

Yes, but: The rules are rather modest compared with sweeping proposals that face long odds in Congress.

  • For instance, some lawmakers want firm deadlines on judicial reviews.

What we're watching: How much the new regulations really move the needle.

5. Catch up quick on oil and gas

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

🚒 QatarEnergy has contracted with Chinese firms to build 18 liquefied natural gas carriers.

  • The big picture: The multibillion-dollar deal arrives weeks after Qatar announced a major expansion of planned LNG export capacity.
  • Why it matters: It signals confidence in a robust long-term market for the fuel. Bloomberg has more.

πŸ’΅ Via Reuters, a court filing shows that Shell's U.S. crude oil trading arm typically earns roughly $1 billion per year.

  • Why it matters: Shell keeps details about its trading division close to the vest, but ongoing litigation is offering a new lens, the story notes.

6. Tesla regains lost momentum

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla's stock is riding a wave of encouraging news, soaring by another 15% yesterday, and up 35% over the last week.

Why it matters: The world's largest EV seller may be steadily regaining investor confidence after a rough patch.

State of play: Yesterday's bounce followed news that Chinese officials have given preliminary blessing to launch its "Full Self-Driving" feature there.

  • It comes after Tesla calmed investors' nerves last Tuesday by pledging to update its product lineup with new, lower-cost models.

Reality check: The latest swings come weeks after Tesla reported a steep drop in Q1 deliveries (a proxy for sales), and amid wider market headwinds.

  • And Tesla is rarely free of tumult β€” this morning The Information reports on new executive departures and layoffs.

The bottom line: If Tesla can't turn around sales, the market bounce probably won't last.

7. πŸ–₯️ Quoted: data centers edition

"We're building a big offshore wind farm. We're building a lot of solar. We're adding a lot of storage. But we also recognize that we're going to need some more natural gas in order to keep the lights on."
β€” Robert Blue, CEO of utility giant Dominion Energy, telling the WSJ about plans to service power-thirsty data center growth

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πŸ™ Thanks to Chris Speckhard and Javier E. David for edits to today's edition, along with the brilliant Axios Visuals team.