Welcome back. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,299 words, < 5 minutes.
This week on "Axios on HBO" — An exclusive: DNC chair Tom Perez said on Monday he's "not contemplating" an online convention despite the spread of the novel coronavirus (clip). Watch the full interview Sunday at 6pm ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
And at this moment in 1979, Gloria Gaynor was atop the Billboard singles charts with a hit that has a title for our times...
Munich Airport sees far less traffic due to the coronavirus. Photo: Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images
Crude oil prices are falling again this morning in the wake of President Trump's Wednesday night announcement that European travel to the U.S. will be restricted for 30 days.
Why it matters: It's likely to further sap oil demand, which is already declining as COVID-19 stymies economic activity and travel.
The big picture: “We are now staring at the whole world going into a lockdown,” energy analyst Vandana Hari tells Bloomberg.
What's new: Analysts are racing to keep up with the effects of the twin shocks of coronavirus and the OPEC+ rupture.
One fresh sign: yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast that U.S. crude oil production will fall next year for the first time since 2016.
What we don't know: The state of potential Trump administration efforts to help U.S. producers getting hammered by low prices remains unclear.
What they're saying: ClearView Energy Partners, in a note, said the plans "did not appear to explicitly offer support for upstream oil and gas production."
But it points out that tax deferments "could potentially benefit energy companies by freeing up some cash available to fund operations."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The apparent end of the Democratic primary's truly competitive phase will bring closer scrutiny of Joe Biden's climate and energy plans — and new efforts to change them.
Driving the news: Bernie Sanders yesterday suggested that his mission in remaining in the race is pushing Biden left, and he name-checked climate change among the policy areas.
What's next: Sanders vowed to confront Biden on the topic at Sunday's debate in Arizona, saying he will ask:
The intrigue: Another thing that caught my eye is the latest positioning from the pro-Sanders Sunrise Movement, the youth-led group that has played a major role in pushing the Green New Deal into the political bloodstream.
Here's a slice of the spokesperson Aracely Jimenez's statement yesterday responding to Tuesday's primaries:
The intrigue: It's not clear how much leverage Sanders and the left flanks of the green movement will have.
The big picture: While Biden's wide-ranging climate plan goes much further than Obama-era policies, Sanders' is far more aggressive.
But, but, but: My standing reminder differences between the plans shrink a lot if you consider what has any chance of getting through Congress and the courts.
Cheaper gasoline thanks to the oil price collapse isn't expected to badly undercut electric vehicles, but the overall economic dislocation from the novel coronavirus is a hurdle, analysts say.
Why it matters: EVs sales have grown in recent years, but they're still basically a niche market and tiny percentage of overall vehicle purchases, so any new headwinds are worth watching.
What they're saying: "For many years the theory is that low oil and gas is not good for EV demand from a high level," Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives tells me. But he adds...
The big picture: He's not alone. Morgan Stanley analysts gamed out the effects of gasoline prices at $2.37-per-gallon — where it was a few days ago — compared to $3.50-per-gallon.
Yes, that lengthens the "payback period" from switching to an EV from a traditional car on fuel savings alone to roughly seven years rather than four.
But, but, but: They say that while lower oil prices put a "dent in economic paybacks," their note adds...
And a piece yesterday in Barron's quotes UBS analysts who say that in China, the world's largest EV market, "we believe continuous efficiency gain and cost cut along the EV supply chain is much more predictable than oil price fluctuations."
The UBS note adds that in Europe, industry compliance with carbon emissions rules will drive sales.
U.S. energy storage installations grew by a record amount last quarter, per new data from Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.
Why it matters: Battery storage helps integrate more renewables onto power grids and, in some applications, provide backup power for buildings during outages.
The big picture: Installations totaled 186.4 megawatts in the fourth quarter and 523 for the full year, also a record.
For 2019 as a whole, California led the market for residential and non-residential buildings, while Massachusetts saw the most "front of the meter" deployments — basically systems used on the power grid.
The intrigue: The big power shutoffs to cut wildfire risk in California are beginning to boost the storage market, the analysis shows.
Go deeper: US Storage Industry Achieved Biggest-Ever Quarter and Year in 2019 (Greentech Media)
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Wood Mackenzie analyst who discussed California's storage market was Brett Simon (not Simon Flowers).