Photo by Schöning / Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to acquire a 44% stake in Nashville-based solar energy company Silicon Ranch.

Why it matters: This is part of Shell’s expanding alternative energy portfolio, although it remains a very small part of the oil-and-gas giant’s overall business.

In October, Shell bought NewMotion, a major European electric vehicle charging company, and late last year said it would boost spending on its alternative energies division from $1 billion to $2 billion per year until 2020.

More broadly, several European oil majors are increasing their alternative energy investments. For instance, last month BP ventured back into solar energy with the announcement that it’s investing $200 million over three years to gain a 43 percent stake in Lightsource, a major European solar power developer.

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How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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