Welcome back! My Axios colleague Amy Harder chatted with PV Magazine about the energy landscape and how she covers it. Check it out.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,033 words (< 4 min read).
And happy birthday to drummer extraordinaire Stewart Copeland, who played for some obscure rock band who provides today's intro tune...
Local governments face severe economic risks from coal's ongoing decline and future climate policies, yet often fail to disclose these threats in their municipal bond filings, a new report shows.
Why it matters: It's a sobering look at what could be in store for specific mining-dependent regions, where coal revenues account for a third or even more of the budget, and the sector's collapse would have severe ripple effects.
What they found: One conclusion is that "even a moderately stringent climate policy could create existential risks for the coal industry." Mining employs roughly 53,000 people and its economic importance to coal-dependent regions affects far more people still.
The bottom line: The report emphasizes the need for economic diversification of coal-reliant economies — and federal investment and support for these regions and their workers.
Go deeper: Coal communities risk fiscal collapse (Washington Examiner)
Volta Charging, which provides free electric vehicle charging stations supported by advertising, said Tuesday that the investment firm Energy Impact Partners is providing a $44 million loan to support expansion of the network.
Why it matters: Expansion of charging is one of the keys to expanding EV market penetration. More charging availability helps give consumers confidence in the technology, which now accounts for just a tiny slice of U.S. vehicle sales.
Background: San Francisco-based Volta was founded in 2010 and says it's now the nation's largest free charging network, with over 700 stations in 10 states. Retail partners include Whole Foods and Macy's.
What they're saying: “Volta creates opportunities for brands to connect with their audience, while reducing ‘range anxiety’ and fitting an unmet need for EV drivers—free of charge," Energy Impact Partners managing partner Harry Giovani said in a statement.
Separately, another business note on emerging tech comes via Greentech Media, which writes...
"Tendril and Simple Energy, two Colorado-based startups focused on utility customer data analytics and energy engagement, have merged into a one-stop-shop for utilities’ customer-facing software needs."
S&P Global Market Intelligence reports that power companies aren't backing off plans to shut coal-fired power plants in coming years, despite EPA carbon rules that are softer than Obama-era plans.
Why it matters: It's the most deeply reported story I've seen about plant operators — not just analysts, though they're quoted too — saying the Trump administration policy won't affect utilities' moves away from coal.
Catch up fast: The story arrives a month after EPA finalized regulations that require greater efficiency from coal plants but are weaker than Obama-era emissions-cutting regulations.
What they did: S&P touched base with, or reviewed filings from, a suite of power companies including the Tennessee Valley Authority, NiSource, FirstEnergy Solutions and DTE Energy. Here's an example...
"NiSource Inc. said it is reviewing the [EPA] rule but does not expect any changes to its plan to retire all remaining coal-fired units by 2028. NiSource subsidiary Northern Indiana Public Service Co. will shut down the 1,625-MW R.M. Schahfer coal plant in 2023 and the 469-MW Michigan City coal plant in 2028."
When it comes to 2020 hopefuls using Facebook for climate-related ads, there's Washington Governor Jay Inslee and then everyone else.
The big picture: Data gathered by communications agency Bully Pulpit Interactive shows Inslee's climate-focused campaign accounts for over two-thirds of the $671,000 spent from March 30 to July 6.
Where it stands: Inslee yesterday reported raising $3 million in Q2, which is far behind the top-tier hopefuls, as the New York Times lays out here.
The intrigue: Inslee's campaign has helped to raise the profile of climate policy in the 2020 contest.
Go deeper: Inslee raises $3 million for presidential campaign in second quarter (Seattle Times)
Oil deal: Monday brought news of a shale patch deal between Texas-based oil producers as Callon Petroleum announced it's acquiring Carrizo Oil & Gas in a stock transaction with a total value of $3.2 billion including debt.
Climate record: "Boosted by a historic heat wave in Europe and unusually warm conditions across the Arctic and Eurasia, the average temperature of the planet soared to its highest level ever recorded in June," the Washington Post reports, citing new federal data.
Interior shuffle: "The federal Bureau of Land Management will move its headquarters to Grand Junction, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Monday, ending years of successful lobbying efforts by officials in Colorado," writes the Denver Post.