Good Monday morning! And welcome back to a jam-packed edition of Generate.
My latest Harder Line column has a big scoop about two separate lobbying pushes underway urging Congress to create new multi-billion dollar tax credits for virtually all coal and nuclear power plants across the country.
I'll preview that, and then Ben will get you up to speed on the rest of the news.
Two separate lobbying pushes are underway urging Congress to create new multi-billion dollar tax credits benefiting virtually all coal and nuclear power plants across the U.S. The price tags: up to $65 billion for coal and $4.8 billion for nuclear.
My thought bubble: The efforts show the aggressive lengths companies are going trying to survive in a hyper-competitive electricity market while also seeking to take advantage of President Trump's vows to boost coal and nuclear power, which has Republican backing in Congress. The tax credit proposals, which have not been publicly disclosed, face skepticism from others in the coal and nuclear industries and are sure to face criticism that they're handouts to legacy energy sources.
Read the rest, including all the gritty details of each proposal, in the Axios stream by clicking here.
Energy secretary Rick Perry tweeted those photos above from his weekend meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the heir to the Saudi throne. Perry met Monday morning with King Salman.
Why it matters: Perry's meeting and sunny photo op with the ascendant crown prince underscores the ongoing U.S.-Saudi alliance despite the competition between U.S. shale production and OPEC, which is grappling with how to respond to the reemergence of the U.S. as a global powerhouse in crude markets.
What they're saying: According to Saudi state-run media, Perry and MBS discussed the "strategic partnership" in energy and other areas, and "joint investments between the two countries, especially in the petrochemical, infrastructure and energy sectors."
Aramco IPO: It wasn't immediately clear Monday morning if Perry pitched Saudi officials on selecting a U.S. exchange for the massive IPO of Saudi Aramco. Trump, via Twitter and talks with the Saudi King, is pressing for the New York Stock Exchange.
Nuclear news: Via Reuters: "Saudi Arabia has invited U.S. firms to take part in developing its civilian nuclear power [program]," Falih said on Monday. He also added the kingdom was not interested in diverting nuclear technology to military use.
Climate and more: A DOE summary of Perry's multi-day trip notes that he signed a memorandum of understanding to enable more work with Saudi officials on carbon capture and several other topics.
Staffing up: Dandelion, a residential geothermal energy startup with ties to Google, is announcing two major hires this morning. They are:
Why it matters: The moves signal the expansion of the company that over the summer spun out from X, the R&D incubator at Google's parent company Alphabet, which remains a shareholder in the geothermal firm. It represents a bet that there's a significant market for home-based geothermal energy for heating and cooling that can help to displace use of propane and fuel oil, which is prevalent in the Northeast.
More details: The New York-based company has begun installations with residential customers in upstate New York, with plans to expand its territory in the years ahead.
Quoted: Dandelion CEO Kathy Hannun explains in a statement why a solar background is important at the company:
"The geothermal industry today is very similar to where the solar industry was fifteen years ago – expensive and largely confined to the earliest adopters, but poised for mainstream adoption."
Go deeper: Greentech Media's Energy Gang podcast had a good segment in July about Dandelion's business model and prospects. It begins at around the 15:30 mark here.
As the dust settles on the Senate's early Saturday morning vote, here's a few things to look for in conference...
ANWR: A decades-long push to allow oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is on the brink of succeeding.
Renewables and EVs: The renewables and electric car sectors will battle House provisions that kill an EV credit and cut the value of the wind energy production tax credit. Renewables groups are also very worried about a Senate provision called "Base Erosion Anti Abuse Tax" (BASE) that they say would thwart their ability to monetize renewable tax credits (a recent letter to lawmakers about this is here).
More BASE: "Anti-base erosion language in the Senate tax bill, as currently written, would impose a 100% surcharge on overseas companies' purchases of solar ITCs and PTCs in the tax equity market. The provision, which would appear to apply retroactively to existing credits, could significantly dampen financing for wind and solar infrastructure," the firm Clearview Energy Partners said in a note Monday morning.
Corporate concerns: This Wall Street Journal story notes that corporate interests including coal magnate Bob Murray are upset over the Senate bill's Alternative Minimum Tax provisions and how they would complicate companies' ability to use other credits, notably the R&D credit.
Oil-and-gas: Via the New York Times and others, a late add to the Senate bill would give new opportunities to certain oil-and-gas firms to benefit from major deductions for so-called pass-through entities.
EPA chief in the spotlight: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt will appear Thursday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee for a broad hearing on EPA's mission.
Nominees in focus: Trump's picks for senior Energy and Interior Department positions will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, including Linda Capuano, the choice to run the federal Energy Information Administration.
Climate: The American Petroleum Institute is set to formally announce early this week its program to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and natural gas wells, as we told you in one of Amy's Harder Line columns in late October.
Solar battle flares: On Wednesday, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold a public hearing on potential import tariffs on solar panels and other remedies in response to findings by a separate body — the U.S. International Trade Commission — that cheap imports are harming domestic manufacturers.
Biofuels buzz: A number of K Street sources say that Trump is slated to meet with Sen. Ted Cruz and several top administration officials on Thursday to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard. The White House and Cruz's office did not comment Sunday