Hello readers! In the interest of Smart Brevity and transparency, I'm adding a word count to every newsletter. Today: 1217 words/< 5 min. read.
We're just a couple days past the 1971 release date of the late Marvin Gaye's album "What's Going On," so he'll provide today's intro tune...
The array of producers in the U.S. oil patch is pretty much the opposite of a cartel, but a new report distills a key reason why companies' individual decisions have together become such a powerful market force.
Driving the news: "The emergence of U.S. shale production seems to be playing a large role in anchoring long-term oil prices," notes the Dallas Fed analysis.
Why it matters: The trajectory and range of oil prices is important for many reasons, like: consumer costs at the pump, planning decisions for crude oil buyers, and analyses of future energy demand and emissions.
What they did: The report explores the reduction in the price point for drilling profitable new wells in recent years, called breakeven prices, and their link to oil futures' markets.
What they found: Shale and other U.S. production can sand down the market's volatile edges over time because pretty small price increases spur a lot of new production, even at modest prices.
Why? Shale wells can be drilled and brought online really fast compared to conventional projects.
By the numbers: The average breakeven price in the Dallas Fed region, which includes the surging Permian Basin, has come down 4% over the past year to $50-per-barrel, although there's lots of variation.
The big picture: The U.S. is now the world's largest oil producer at over 12 million barrels per day, and the shale boom is a big reason why, with roughly a third of that production coming from the Permian Basin alone.
What's next: Look for U.S. shale to keep influencing the market even as OPEC and Russia collaborate on production levels.
A new report commissioned by the DOE recommends promoting coal for use in other, higher tech ways than electricity, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Why it matters: The report, authored by coal executives, is an implicit acknowledgment that despite President Trump’s so far empty promises to help economically struggling coal plants, coal’s past as America’s dominant power source is no reflection on its future.
The big picture: Coal’s share of the U.S. electricity mix has plummeted from nearly 50% to below 30% in the past decade, fueled by growth in cheap natural gas and tougher regulations.
Where it stands: The report was written by the National Coal Council, a federal advisory committee to Energy Secretary Rick Perry made up of executives across the coal industry.
It finds that coal can be refined into a vast array of products, but the ones with the most growth potential include:
What’s next: The report, which is being sent to Perry today, recommends the DOE create an R&D program to bring down technology costs and to find ways to encourage private investment.
Go deeper: Coal seeks new life in high tech
Congress: The Washington Examiner reports on new bipartisan Senate legislation backed by several Republicans that aims to bolster energy storage deployment.
Big Tech: Via BuzzFeed News, "Amazon shareholders rejected a proposal to develop a plan to respond to climate change during the company's annual meeting on Wednesday. The proposal had gathered the support of nearly 7,700 employees across the company."
Tesla: CNN reports that Tesla's stock price slide shows that it's no longer the "darling" of Wall Street. "The automaker's stock has plunged nearly 40% since the start of 2019, erasing most of the gains it made over the past several years. This week, Tesla (TSLA) shares fell below the $200 mark for the first time since 2016."
A newly released poll shows partisan differences over electric vehicles but nonetheless has bullish data if you're excited about rapid expansion of what's still a niche market.
By the numbers: Check out the chart above. It shows 44% of voters planning to replace their wheels in the next 5 years, including over half of Democrats, will consider going electric.
Why it matters: EVs are growing fast, but cars with a plug are still in the low single digits of total U.S. car sales.
The intrigue: Another big takeaway is that incentives matter. Strong majorities, including 71% of Republicans, say a $7,500 tax credit would increase their likelihood of going electric.
Who they are: The survey was conducted by the communications group Climate Nexus and climate programs at Yale and George Mason universities.
But, but, but: Separate polling released yesterday by Morning Consult highlights barriers to EV adoption...
A new report from Barclays' analysts sizes up fake meat's potential market size and makes an interesting comparison to EVs (h/t to Amy for spotting).
The big picture: "Our work suggests a potential market size of $140 [billion] by 2029 from less than $14bn today," the report states.
Why it matters: Fake meat is a real climate variable, due to large emissions from the meat industry, especially beef and cattle milk.