Welcome back. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,043 words, ~ 4 minutes.
Situational awareness: "The world’s largest energy traders are betting oil will slip further next year, heaping pressure on Opec and its allies to do more to prop up the price," the Financial Times reports from a big energy conference in London.
And this month marks 30 years since Neil Young released "Freedom," which opened a terrific run of albums and provides today's intro tune...
Person sitting in a California restaurant lit by candlelight during one of PG&E's shut-offs. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small/AFP via Getty Images
One side effect of California utility PG&E shutting off power to roughly 2 million people to deter wildfires: It's effectively a free ad for distributed generation options.
Driving the news: Check out the Twitter feed of Sunrun, the country's top residential solar provider, and you'll see this message about their battery product...
The big picture: They're not the only distributed energy provider that stands to gain.
Why it matters: Distributed energy is indeed an important part of creating more resilient power systems at a time when climate change is putting more stress on grids.
What they're saying: A Fast Company story last night on the PG&E outages quotes Christopher Burgess of the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute making the case for "community microgrids" that combine solar and batteries.
The Los Angeles Times points out how the decision to cut power underscores the state's reliance on infrastructure that belies its high-tech image.
The big picture: "With Pacific Gas & Electric Co. expected to cut electricity to 800,000 customers this week, the state is confronting its reliance on a transmission network that predates climate change, solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, depending instead on electric lines strung over thousands of miles on vulnerable wooden poles," per L.A. Times.
Meanwhile, the New York Times unpacks the latest twist in the utility giant's ongoing bankruptcy, noting a judge's ruling yesterday is a setback for the company. From their piece...
Where it stands: PG&E's stock plummeted after the ruling and is down by nearly a third ahead of the market's open.
The consortium of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states that have a carbon pricing system for power plants is out with a new report that shows there the money raised is going.
Where it stands: The chart above shows the 2017 distribution of roughly $316 million in money raised via Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which auctions pollution "allowances" under its cap-and-trade system.
Quick take: The report underscores how carbon pricing can raise substantial revenue for initiatives that help reduce emissions, even if the CO2 prices themselves are too low to directly cause changes in the power mix.
America's beleaguered coal industry is attacking natural gas for its role in fueling climate change, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Between the lines: You read that right! It’s ironic because coal is considered far more damaging to the climate than gas.
The big picture: Gas emits far less CO2 when burned than coal, but its primary component — methane — is also a potent greenhouse gas that can escape during production and transport.
Driving the news: The National Mining Association's blog post argues that as gas has become the country's largest power source, higher CO2 emissions from gas-fired generation make it "a leading contributor to the challenge.”
What they’re saying: “That’s apparently news to the oil and natural gas industry,” the post argues.
Reality check: On a per-unit basis, coal creates more carbon dioxide, which is by far the most prevalent greenhouse gas, compared to oil and gas.
BP's venture arm announced Thursday that it led a Series A funding round for Grid Edge, a British software company that helps buildings control and cut their energy use.
Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how oil majors are boosting their investments in power technologies, EV charging and other areas outside their dominant fossil fuel lines.
The big picture: BP and Grid Edge said in their joint announcement that the startup's tech draws on data like weather forecasts and expected building occupancy to help customers tailor their energy needs.
Speaking of Big Oil and climate change, Reuters reports: "Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it would offset the carbon dioxide emissions of around 1.5 million road users in Britain starting later this month under a loyalty scheme."