Good morning from Las Vegas and welcome to a special guest issue of Generate. I'll be interviewing former Energy secretary Ernest Moniz on stage today at noon PDT as part of the National Clean Energy Summit. Watch the livestream here.
I also have a piece today, chock full of telling graphics, showing China's dominance in the clean energy race. Then Axios' Ben Geman will bring you the rest of the energy news you need to know. Let's get to it!
U.S. politicians have been warning for years that America couldn't let China win the clean energy race. That's exactly what has happened, with the trends most stark in electric cars, solar and nuclear energy.
Why it matters: Building for the last decade, these trends have accelerated in the last couple of years. Politicians and business leaders said America's dominance in this space would bring jobs to the U.S. and security to our clean energy resources, and now both of those goals are at risk.
Why China is doing this:
Why America is losing:As a Democratically run nation, it can't push policies and subsidies by decree. "China is able to simply mandate things in a way that would take us much longer to do," said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.The U.S. has no long-term, coordinated energy and environment strategy, unlike China. "It's very obvious the U.S. would have all the technology, innovation potential and money to be the leader," said Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable energy division at the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based group tracking global energy trends. "Ultimately, it's a question of strategic choices."Read the full story here.
Driving the news: House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady said the myriad energy-related provisions of the tax code are a live topic in negotiations over the wider plan to overhaul tax policy.
In his words: Here's how Brady, chatting with reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday, vaguely summarized the state of play: "We are discussing energy as a major part of our economy. It's also a major part of our tax code. The combination of all the energy provisions are about as convoluted as any parts of our code."
One big question: Whether Republicans will seek to alter wind and solar project tax credits that are currently in place for projects undertaken until around 2020 and 2021. Asked if the plan might end them sooner, Brady replied: "I don't want to get ahead of the committee discussions."
Why it matters: Those credits have historically been important drivers of increased deployment, though their relative importance is declining somewhat as renewables' costs plummet.
Go deeper: Oil-and-gas companies also have plenty at stake in the discussions, and we looked at the bare-bones GOP proposal unveiled in late September here.
To be sure: GOP Rep. Dave Schweikert, a Ways and Means member, tells Axios that discussions have not been detailed yet. "From a policy standpoint, I don't think there has been a lot of meat on the bones," he said.
What's moving markets: "Oil prices jumped Friday on a mix of factors, including bullish Chinese data and geopolitical risks from oil-rich regions in the Middle East," MarketWatch reports.
Earnings preview: A new note from HSBC looks at the upcoming third-quarter reports from the big multinational integrated oil-and-gas companies. The topline:
Tech corner: "Scientists have developed a ceramic heat pump that can operate at 1,400 ˚C, several hundred degrees hotter than existing heat transfer systems, opening up significant new possibilities for energy storage," MIT Technology Review reports.
Shell charges ahead: Here's a little more on Royal Dutch Shell's announcement yesterday that it's buying the electric vehicle charging company NewMotion, marking a major foray into the sector as major automakers ramp up plans for wider EV offerings.
Latest in GM's electric push: The company, which recently announced plans to launch 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023, has named Pamela Fletcher to the newly created role of VP for Global Electric Vehicle Programs. She previously led the team that launched GM's Chevy Bolt EV.
Trump taps CEQ chief: President Trump is nominating Kathleen Hartnett White, who's currently with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Neil Chatterjee is holding a press roundtable later this morning.
Why it matters: Perry's rule, if FERC decides to craft anything resembling what he's seeking, would shakeup wholesale power markets by providing new revenues to coal and nuclear plants — which are under heavy pressure from natural gas and renewables — as the Trump administration seeks to prevent more of them from going offline.
Speaking of Perry: He faced questions about the instantly controversial proposal at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing yesterday.
Perry's goal: An exchange with Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle during the hearing highlighted one of the tensions running through Perry's appearance and his effort more broadly.
What's the cost of freedom? The line most likely to have a shelf life came in an exchange late in the hearing with Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko, who asked Perry whether consumer costs were considered in the proposal.
Taxing question: A new paper in Environmental Research Letters explores the preferences of Americans who say they are willing to support a tax on carbon emissions to help fight global warming. The study led by Yale researchers explored how much these supporters of a tax are willing to pay, and what they would want the revenues used for (check out the chart above by Axios' Chris Canipe).
Why it matters: It's a data point for policymakers to consider if carbon tax proposals start gaining political traction in coming years. Right now they don't have any, but a number of groups and companies are trying to change political calculus.
Yes, but: A number of advocates — including the Climate Leadership Council that's backed by several GOP elder statesmen and big companies — say proceeds from a tax should be returned to the public via dividends or reductions in other taxes. But the new poll shows more support for other uses of the money.
More polling: "After hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and see global warming's fingerprints," the Associated Press reports in a summary of their new survey conducted with University of Chicago researchers.
Go deeper: Dive into the details of the multi-question poll here.