Shell. Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Oil-and-gas giant Royal Dutch Shell and two partners rolled out a new business unit Thursday that provides a suite of energy services to buildings, such as heating and cooling, efficient lighting, controls, and electric vehicle charging.

Why it matters: It's the latest wrinkle in the growing movement of some of the largest multinational oil companies — especially European-headquartered players — into the electricity space, although it remains a small part of their overall portfolios.

  • Shell's new unit, called Shell Energy Inside, provides services on a "subscription" basis, wherein customers pay fixed monthly expenses.

The backdrop: For instance, today the Norwegian oil-and-gas giant Equinor announced its latest move in renewable energy: an $82 million deal to obtain an almost 10% share in the multinational solar power company Scatec Solar ASA.

Where it stands: Shell is working with two companies in the U.S. market to offer the power services to commercial, industrial and municipal buildings.

  • Sparkfund, which specializes in providing various building energy technologies on a subscription basis.
  • GridPoint, which provides "smart building" controls, software and analytics.

Background: Shell states on its website that, in deregulated markets, the Shell Energy Inside services will be bundled with retail power from Shell Energy North America and its Texas-based subsidiary MP2 Energy.

  • Shell recently soft-launched Shell Energy Inside when VP of energy solutions Brian Davis mentioned it in an interview with Greentech Media.
  • Thursday marks the formal rollout and identification of partners.

What they're saying: I chatted with Sparkfund CEO Pier LaFarge. He argued that the subscription offering is part of a broader way of imaging how energy services are provided, much the same way that, say, Netflix has shaken up entertainment.

  • “We have iPhone-d the delivery of energy outcomes inside the building and we keep all of the crazy behind the curtain," he said.
  • LaFarge said the work with Shell and GridPoint represents "business model innovation, not just technology innovation."

The big picture: Shell Energy Inside is part of Shell's wider "new energies" division, which is aimed at low-carbon fuels and power. Shell said last year that it's investing $1 billion–$2 billion per year in the new energies division until 2020.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.