Welcome back! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,221 words, < 5 minutes.
Situational awareness: Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is slated to take the stand today in the New York state court case over whether the company misled investors about climate change, the New York Times reports.
And, Nov. 1 will mark the 1975 release date of The Band's "Northern Lights — Southern Cross," which provides today's epic intro tune...
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Big Oil and gas producers might finally have found a renewable energy they can fully embrace — largely because it has a lot in common with oil and gas, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: Up to 40% of the costs of offshore wind, including construction and maintenance of massive structures, overlap with offshore oil industry costs, a new International Energy Agency report finds.
Where it stands: While the U.S. has just one (tiny) offshore wind farm, a boom is on the horizon with a slew of companies planning big projects.
By the numbers: About 30% of the federal offshore wind leases that the Interior Department has auctioned to date are tied to the oil industry (Equinor and Shell), according to BloombergNEF data.
Why it matters: These companies have deep pocketbooks and global reach. If they make big bets on offshore wind, which accounts for just 0.3% of global electricity today, its growth could exceed current expectations.
The big picture: Oil majors are under pressure from shareholders, lawsuits and the public to more readily acknowledge their role fueling climate change and more fully embrace a global, albeit uneven, transition to cleaner energy sources.
Between the lines: A trend among these companies is to buy stakes in separate developers already focused on clean energy, such as solar and electric vehicle charging.
Five metro areas in California have the nation's highest density of homes with solar panels, while Detroit has the lowest, according to new analysis that uses AI to track solar deployment via high-resolution aerial imagery, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
What they did: Cape Analytics analyzed visual data on tens of millions of homes in major metro areas nationwide by working with partners like the location data company Nearmap.
Why it matters: The firm intends its localized data to help policymakers better understand where solar power is being adopted and why.
What they found: Every "super solar" neighborhood in the U.S. — those with over 500 homes and solar systems — is in California, except for one in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is 13.2% solar.
Tesla has revealed that revenues from U.S. sales fell sharply in the third quarter to $3.13 billion, compared to $5.13 billion in the same period last year in the company's largest market.
But, but, but: The Silicon Valley electric automaker's filing with securities regulators yesterday showed rising revenues in other areas including China and the Netherlands.
Why it matters: The document provides a look at the geographic breakdown behind the company's recently revealed performance in Q3, when it beat expectations and eked out a $143 million profit.
What they're saying: “[Elon] Musk & Co. are laser-focused on Europe and China for growth, while domestically, core demand is fading relative to other regions," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives tells Reuters.
Quick take: Falling U.S. revenues are obviously not a great sign. But the growth trend in China is promising because it's the world's largest auto market and the government there is behind EVs, although subsidies have been scaled back recently.
Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images
The risk of wildfires in California prompted what may be the largest deliberate power cut in U.S. history. The growing frequency of such precautions could incentivize residential and commercial customers to turn to on-site power generation, writes Axios Expert Voices contributor Morgan Bazilian.
Why it matters: Such a shift could mean a boon for solar energy systems, but also a comeback for gas-powered generators in areas bearing the brunt of extreme dry weather exacerbated by climate change.
What's happening: The fires and power cuts are intertwined due to a complicated mix of factors, including ineffective management by energy companies, insufficient regulatory oversight, climate change, poor urban planning and suburban sprawl.
Between the lines: Gas-powered generators are priced at roughly $100 per kilowatt, making them a relatively affordable, and easy-to-source, fallback.
What to watch: Because a solar energy system requires no fuel, the equipment's lifetime cost is lower than a generator's.
Bazilian is a professor of public policy and director of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines.
Batteries: The storage company ESS has raised $30 million in Series C funding from backers including the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures and SoftBank Group’s SB Energy.
Big Oil: Via Bloomberg, "Total SA’s third-quarter profit beat analyst estimates and cash flow held firm, as the French giant offset lower oil and gas prices by boosting production and cutting costs."
Climate change: Per the Washington Post, "Rising seas will be much worse and more expensive to deal with than previously thought, new research finds, not because of faster changes in sea levels but because of an increase in estimates of the number of people living on low ground."
That's the per-mile cost on average if PG&E were to bury power lines underground in order to lower the risk of equipment starting wildfires in high-wind events, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Why it matters: The massive blackouts are prompting new focus on ways to cut risk. But as the Chronicle reports...
"[T]he company has no plans to bury lines on a major scale — at least not yet — though it is implementing or considering the transition in targeted locations."