Good morning and welcome back to Generate, where your host feels pressure to make a successful joke about Twitter extending tweet lengths. But I've got nothing.So I buried a lyric snippet from one of my favorite Neil Young & Crazy Horse songs instead. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you spot it, and please send along any (always confidential) tips while you're at it. Onward . . .
My colleague Amy Harder takes stock of some coal industry news...
Two separate developments on Tuesday offer us a stark reminder of coal's long-term downward trajectory in the U.S., regardless of what President Trump says or does.
1. Washington state rejected a key permit for a coal export terminal in the state. That's the sixth rejection of a total of six proposed such projects in the Pacific Northwest over the last few years.
2. Arch Coal withdrew an application for a federal coal lease in Wyoming that would have expanded the second-largest coal mine in the country, SNL reported Tuesday. Recall, the Interior Department repealed an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing in March. When that temporary moratorium was first put in place in January 2016, coal companies said it didn't make a big difference, citing low demand and sufficient supply on current leases.
Why this matters: Companies and local governments make decisions that are best for them, not the federal government. These anecdotes are some of the starkest since Trump assumed office and show the coal industry's downward trend.
The Energy Information Administration
that coal's share of electricity is expected to surpass natural gas for the next two years, which is an argument the coal industry points to as evidence the fuel is on the rise again. What the industry doesn't say is that by 2018, the two fuels are basically in a dead heat.
Exxon: Via Bloomberg, "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin filed court papers in Texas denying claims by Exxon Mobil Corp. that a $2 million fine assessed against the energy company in July, over alleged "egregious" violations of sanctions against Russia three years ago, was unconstitutional."
Shell: CEO Ben van Beurden chatted with CNBC in Singapore about his outlook. "It's not unreasonable to expect that if you want to make financial projections going out in the future, you want to make projections around $60 oil by the end of the decade," he said, predicting further market tightening while emphasizing the inherent uncertainty of price forecasting.
Total: The French multinational giant has been busy lately. Yesterday brought the news that they're exploring purchase of a stake in a bloc off the coast of Guyana, not far from where Exxon is developing what appears to be a massive oil find.
The satellite imagery above has been making the rounds and illustrates the crisis facing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
What's happening: "A week after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the US commonwealth's residents are struggling to survive without basic necessities as federal officials say aid is still on the way," CNN reports. Lack of fuel is problem "across the island."
Power situation: The latest Energy Department update yesterday notes "significant damage" to transmission and distribution systems.
Trump under fire: Via Politico, "Trump and his aides have found themselves on the defensive for the president's muted response to the latest storm, which devastated the island and left millions of American citizens without electricity, housing or running water."
Dyson enters the fray: The BBC reports that Sir James Dyson, the billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, announced Tuesday that his company is investing £2 billion ($2.7 billion) to develop and build a "radical and different" electric car. Dyson said £1 billion will be spent on developing the car, which is set to hit the streets in 2020, with the other £1 billion on making the battery.
Dyson said his company has been working on the project for two years with 400 employees, according to press accounts.
Tesla's growth: Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, a longtime optimist about Tesla's potential, is out with a new forecast predicting that the number of Tesla cars on the road worldwide will be 300,000 by year's end, and will grow to 531,000 by the end of 2018.
Then? Up, up, up, reaching nearly 32 million units on the road in 2040 (including cars used in ride-sharing services). "It has been generations since the investment community witnessed such a high growth rate in the population of a single auto firm," Jonas writes.
Big picture: Reuters notes that Wall Street is weighing the bullish Morgan Stanley forecast against Dyson's announcement that it's entering the EV market, heralding a new competitor for Elon Musk.
With so much left undone: Yesterday afternoon, after GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham's 11th-hour effort to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act collapsed, he also found time to discuss an even steeper uphill climb: legislation to price carbon.
Not long after Republicans announced they wouldn't vote on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, Graham appeared at a National Clean Energy Week event to lay out the rationale for creating a carbon fee. A couple takeaways...
Big picture: "I do believe that there is a deal to be had that will increase the GDP of America, not decrease it; that can make the planet a much more healthy place to live; and create jobs in our backyard rather than them going to China, and above all else, wean us off fossil fuels from areas of the world that are very dangerous," Graham said.
What's next: As your Generate host noted here, there are basically zero near-term and probably even medium-term prospects for the idea. A key thing to watch going forward is whether Graham can muster any GOP support for carbon pricing beyond the tiny circle of sitting GOP lawmakers who have already backed the idea in some form. So far, nobody has emerged.
Check it out: The latest edition of the Smarter Faster series from Axios features billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer on the future of batteries and how storage can enable wider renewable power deployment.
You can watch it here.