May 12 will mark the 1972 release of the Rolling Stones' double-album Exile On Main St., so I'm giving that masterpiece the newsletter's intro music two days in a row. Here's today's opener . . .
A mural painted on the wall of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Two complementary lines of conventional wisdom have emerged in the wake of President Trump's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose energy sanctions.
One is that the bid to punish Iran by curbing their crude sector will have a real but nonetheless somewhat limited effect.
It's one that's well below the roughly 1.2 million barrels of Iranian oil that joint sanctions imposed years ago took off the market, which helped ramp up pressure for the nuclear deal.
But, but, but: The White House move is still altering the geopolitics of oil in important ways, because it could influence the future of the production limiting agreement between OPEC and Russia, which is currently slated to run through the end of 2018.
All eyes now turn to whether any adjustments come at the June OPEC meeting, which arrives as the cartel and Russia have largely succeeded in curbing the global glut (with an assist from Venezuela's collapse).
Photo: Benjamin C. Tankersley/The Washington Post via Getty Images
A few notes on California's big new solar policy...
ICYMI: California regulators voted yesterday to mandate that, starting in 2020, newly built houses and multifamily buildings of three stories or less must have solar systems.
Why it matters: The California Energy Commission rule represents a newly aggressive policy in a state that already has ambitious climate laws and by far the nation's largest solar market.
What will happen: Here are a few estimates on how much the mandate, which provides for certain exemptions, will spur growth beyond what's already forecast in years ahead...
Pushback: This new piece in the MIT Technology Review criticizes the policy, quoting academics who say there are better, cheaper ways to attack carbon emissions.
What's next: ClearView predicts the rule could spur similar but slower-moving proposals in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Canceled: Science magazine broke the news yesterday that the Trump administration has canceled an important, $10 million-per-year NASA program called the Carbon Monitoring System.
Collision: The New York Times has some inside details on the crosscurrents swirling around tomorrow's meeting between Trump and auto industry executives.
Coal and nuclear: Per Utility Dive, "The Department of Energy is 'looking very closely' at using the Defense Production Act (DPA) to keep coal and nuclear plants from closing, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry told a House committee on Wednesday."
Amy Harder reports...
Kinder Morgan shareholders approved two non-binding but symbolically important resolutions on climate change during the big pipeline company's annual meeting Wednesday.
Why it matters: These results are among the first of several high-profile votes expected this spring at numerous energy companies’ annual meetings.
One level deeper: The two resolutions received majority support, though specific percentage won’t be disclosed for another week or so.
For the record: Executive chairman Rich Kinder said the board will "carefully consider the proposals."
Breaking record: Blackstone Group is targeting $4.5 billion for a third fund that will invest in energy projects globally, according to Bloomberg, which says the company "keeps breaking fundraising records as investors search for better returns and flee more expensive alternatives."
Natural gas trucking: French energy giant Total has agreed to buy a 25% stake in California-based Clean Energy Fuels for $83.4 million, per MarketWatch.
Joint ventures: The Boston Business Journal writes that French transportation manufacturing group Alstom plans to exercise its option to exit its interests in three joint ventures in renewables, grid and nuclear with General Electric for $3 billion.
Debt reduction: In an effort to reduce its debt by $2.5 billion, Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge plans to sell its U.S. gas pipeline business, Midcoast Operating, and part of its renewable energy portfolio, Reuters reports.
Possible futures: This Energy Information Administration report explores the amount of U.S. nuclear power slated to come offline in coming decades, and how various energy price, operating cost and carbon policies would influence the trajectory.
Why it matters: Check out the chart above. It shows how imposing a fee on carbon dioxide emissions, under EIA's modeling, would make nuclear power much more competitive and could even lead to new construction.
The context: The analysis arrives as some climate advocates are increasingly sounding the alarm that planned and potential plant retirements will badly undercut the goal of decarbonizing power generation.
One level deeper: EIA modeled various "sensitivity cases" including a carbon price that begins at $15 or $25 per ton and rises by 5% annually.
Worth noting: Legislation floated by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz, two of the Senate's most outspoken climate advocates, would impose a tax that begins at $50 per ton.