Hello again! And happy birthday to Madonna, who gets us going with her best song...
Axios' Zach Basu reports ... If China achieves the targets outlined in its Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, it will become the world's nuclear energy leader and fundamentally change the global trajectory of the nuclear power industry.
The big picture: It's not a foregone conclusion that China will follow through on its plans, especially with the public resistance stemming from the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan. But if Chinese President Xi Jinping and his administration decide to press on, China will be solidly on track to dominate the nuclear landscape.
The backdrop: In 2005, China began planning an aggressive increase in nuclear generating capacity, with a 15-year trajectory in mind. That has the country's energy future set to reach a crossroads in 2020, when the Communist Party will craft its 14th Five Year Plan.
Yes, but: Some of the assumptions that Chinese leaders made when they first hatched plans for the nuclear expansion are looking shaky, so the buildout they envisioned is hardly a foregone conclusion.
Go deeper: Read Zach's full story in the Axios stream.
A few developments in CEO Elon Musk's rocky move to take electric automaker Tesla private...
SEC probe: The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Tesla about its take-private plan and Musk's unverified claim that he has "funding secured," Fox Business Network's Charlie Gasparino reported Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs' role: The investment bank confirmed it's working with Musk, and as a result will suspend its analysis of the company.
The big picture: In this lengthy story about Tesla, CFRA analyst Efraim Levy makes a good point when he tells Vox:
“While Elon Musk rationalizes that he doesn’t want the challenges of the short-termism of publicly owned companies, he’s benefited a lot by easy, cheap financing, either debt or equity issued, which would not be quite as available in a private market.”
A fracking site in Texas. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The amount of water needed to develop new oil and gas wells via fracking has surged in recent years, and it's slated to keep rising, Duke University researchers conclude in a new paper.
Why it matters: It underscores the resource challenges, especially in arid regions like West Texas, accompanying the decade-old boom in fracking and horizontal drilling that has pushed U.S. oil and gas production to record levels.
What they're saying: "Previous studies suggested hydraulic fracturing does not use significantly more water than other energy sources, but those findings were based only on aggregated data from the early years of fracking," Duke earth scientist Avner Vengosh said in a statement.
The details: The study in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances looks at data for wells developed between 2011 and 2016 in major shale oil and gas regions.
Threat level: Looking out to 2030, cumulative volumes of water for developing wells and the amount of FP water could expand much further still.
Go deeper: Read the full story in the Axios stream.
Yesterday's Gulf of Mexico lease sale drew $178 million in winning bids from oil companies, spanning 144 tracts in the region that cover around 800,000 acres.
But what that says about industry interest in the region is open to interpretation.
The big picture: The total was very modest by comparison to many sales in the past, including auctions in the mid-2000s, when high oil prices led to high bids totaling several billion dollars.
What they're saying: "With an increase in competitive bids and dollar amount from the last round, companies demonstrated their continued confidence in the region," Wood Mackenzie analyst William Turner said in a short note.
By the numbers: The largest single bid came from Hess, which offered $26 million for a block in the Mississippi Canyon region off Louisiana's coast. Exxon had the highest total amount of winning bids at $40.6 million.
Between the lines: This S&P Global Platts story looks at companies' strategies in the sale, noting interest in frontier prospects that are long-term bets. From their piece...
"Bidders in Lease Sale 251 appeared more willing to focus on deepwater exploratory prospects than in the last couple of auctions, when companies chose acreage for its proximity to infrastructure and near-term production prospects, Mike Celata, regional Gulf director for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said."
Shale: The Financial Times has a deep dive about BP's recently announced $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP Billiton's U.S. shale assets, which makes BP a much bigger player in the Permian Basin and other plays.
Batteries: The Verge has a good look at the prospect of electrified flight at a time when a suite of companies — including big players like Boeing and Uber — are exploring aerial taxi tech.
Climate change: A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that 64% of voters say the U.S. should do more to combat climate change.