COAL: After decades of pushing to preserve its use of coal, Georgia Power plans to close five of its nine remaining coal-burning units no later than 2028. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ALSO:
• A West Virginia Congress member calls for the revival of the National Coal Council after the Biden administration allowed its charter to lapse in November. (Weirton Daily Times)
• A conservative think tank partners with coal companies to write and convince lawmakers in West Virginia and other states to carry legislation that punishes companies for divesting from fossil fuels. (New Republic)

SOLAR: A company focused on helping residents and businesses develop solar energy opens in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia. (Richlands News-Press)

PIPELINES: The Sierra Club and other environmental groups sue West Virginia’s environmental protection agency over its approval of a water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, arguing it violates the Clean Water Act. (WV News, Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• Cold weather over the New Year’s holiday weekend froze some natural gas wells in Texas, reviving memories of February’s brutal storm and nudging prices slightly up. (Reuters)
• A natural gas company delays an investment decision on its proposed liquified gas export terminal in Texas until later this year. (S&P Global)

GRID:
• Texas’ grid manager says generation and transmission facilities are ready for winter after inspecting 300 generation units and 22 transmission facilities affected during last year’s winter storm. (S&P Global)
• An energy expert calls for Texas lawmakers to require winterization of natural gas facilities after the response to last year’s winter storm focused largely on the electric grid. (KERA)​​
• Duke Energy sets a meeting with Florida county commissioners to discuss upgrading a substation’s telecommunications shed to make it more stormproof and enable quicker outage repairs. (WCJB)
• A winter storm knocks out power for residents of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. (WNCT, WBIR, WWBT)

TRANSITION:
• Indigenous activists in eastern Kentucky collaborate with those in the West to push for economic reinvention of their coalfield communities. (WFPL)
• Kentucky has nearly a fifth of the nation’s orphaned oil and natural gas wells, which could benefit from $16 billion allocated for cleanup in last year’s federal infrastructure package. (Spectrum News)

UTILITIES:
• Kentucky regulators approve a rate increase of $18.31 million for natural gas company Columbia Kentucky, while Piedmont Natural Gas is also raising rates for its Tennessee customers. (Appalachian News-Express, WTVF)
• West Virginia regulators approve a $19.6 million rate increase, or a 1.5% increase for customers, for two FirstEnergy subsidiaries to recover costs for fuel, purchased power agreements and transmission. (Weirton Daily Times)
• A Louisiana utility narrows its search for its first permanent director in two years down to three candidates. (Daily Advertiser)

COMMENTARY: A Florida Power & Light official argues Florida should change its net-metering rules to eliminate billing credits for private solar systems and instead lean into more cost-efficient utility-scale projects. (Palm Beach Post)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.