Situational awareness: The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges Volkswagen committed "massive fraud" from at least 2007–2015 in its diesel emissions cheating scandal.
And, this is our final edition from a mammoth energy conference in Houston. And that means we one more intro tune from "Dazed and Confused," a terrific movie set in Texas. Here we go...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
HOUSTON — Power from offshore wind is finally poised for liftoff in the United States.
Why it matters: The U.S. has long been a laggard, but that's poised to change thanks to a convergence of forces that analysts see bringing enough coastal wind online over the next decade to power millions of homes.
What's happening: A huge energy conference here in the nation's oil-and-gas capital offers a window into what's prompting giant energy companies to plan multibillion dollar investments. It's a story of...
What they're saying: “The missing piece for some time was actually an interest from the states up along the coast to acquire this power from this industry,” says Christer af Geijerstam, who heads U.S. wind efforts for the oil-and-gas giant Equinor.
ICYMI: In December, Equinor was among the winning bidders in a federal auction of development sites that are off the Massachusetts coast.
The big picture: IHS Markit's current forecast sees 7 gigawatts of offshore wind coming online in the U.S. by 2030, up from almost nothing today. But that estimate could rise.
Where it stands: Equinor is among several deep-pocketed companies in the space planning projects. Here are some other players...
What we're hearing: One real but hard to quantify factor is the role shareholder pressure plays on these decisions.
The intrigue: Offshore wind has long been a big thing in Europe. But one irony of U.S. delay into this sector is the upside of being a late mover — lower costs.
Go deeper: Read the full story.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company's latest electric car, a small SUV dubbed Model Y, at a jam-packed event Thursday night, Axios' Joann Muller writes.
Why it matters: The Model Y is a logical next step for Tesla, but by the time it goes on sale in fall 2020, it'll face more competition. Ford trolled Tesla just ahead of the event with a tweet saying "hold your horses" — a clear reference to its Mustang-inspired electric performance SUV coming in 2020.
Details: The Model Y, which will seat up to 7, includes a panoramic glass roof and 66 cubic feet of space.
But, but, but: Tesla said nothing about where it will built the Model Y or how it will afford the capital investment the new model will require. Just last week, Musk said the company would close many of its stores and cut its workforce for the third time this year.
Our thought bubble, per Joann: Will this deflect attention from some of the company's current troubles?
HOUSTON — Democratic White House hopeful John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor, told energy executives here that "urgency" is needed to tackle climate change but steered clear of offering policy specifics.
The big picture: Hickenlooper casts himself as a problem-solving "doer" as he seeks the moderate lane in the progressive field. He often touts the methane regulation deal he forged as governor of an oil-and-gas state.
Hickenlooper praised the Green New Deal while keeping some distance from it. "I support the urgency of the Green New Deal," he said onstage at CERAWeek, one of many times he used the "u" word.
He said the "urgency" stems partly from feedback loops in which warming frees methane frozen in the tundra in Canada, Alaska and elsewhere.
Where it stands: I asked him for policy plans and he demurred, saying his platform isn't ready. But Hickenlooper offered reporters some wide-angle thoughts on the sidelines of the event.
A senior House Republican equated the GND with genocide on Thursday morning, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the ideas behind the progressive policy are "tantamount to genocide."
Reality check: The GND is not at all related to genocide, which is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation."
What's new: Bishop walked back comments in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune, saying they were "obviously not meant literally," while reiterating his criticisms of GND.
Meanwhile, newly minted White House hopeful Beto O'Rourke offered a pretty full-throated endorsement at a campaign stop in Iowa. Via CNBC...
“So, some will criticize the Green New Deal for being too bold, or being unmanageable,” O’Rourke said. “But, I’ll tell you what. I haven’t seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis that we face, a crisis that could, at its worst, lead to extinction.”
What's next: Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set the procedural gears turning to bring up the GND resolution for a test vote the week of March 25.
Breaking Friday: Via the Financial Times, "Italian energy major ENI will plant a forest four times the size of Wales as part of plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in its exploration and production business to “net zero” by 2030 — the latest in a string of new climate targets set by oil and gas companies this week.
Shell: Per Reuters, "Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it planned to reduce carbon emissions from its oil and gas operations and product sales by 2 percent to 3 percent during the 2016-2021 period, the first time the company has issued carbon footprint targets."
The big picture: The announcements are part of Big Oil's wider moves on climate, even as hydrocarbons remain their dominant investments.
So that brings me to Amy's interview with Equinor CEO Eldar Sætre, who chatted with Amy about the evolution of their portfolio, trade group memberships and more. Here's a snippet...
Go deeper: Read Amy's full interview with Sætre.
FERC: Utility Dive's Gavin Bade noticed an evolution in the posture of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Neil Chatterjee, who's now emphasizing transmission investment as FERC weighs new steps to enhance grid resilience.
Oil: Via CNBC, "A nationwide power failure in crisis-stricken Venezuela could trigger 'serious disruption' to the oil market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Friday, but OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia should have the means to offset any further production woes in Caracas.
Coal: "The latest sign that coal’s losing its sway in the U.S. power market: Vistra Energy Corp. — one of Texas’s largest power generators and coal plant owners -- says the fossil fuel’s days are numbered," Bloomberg reports from CERAWeek.
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