GRID: Analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas find that weatherizing Texas’ power plants and natural gas system would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but would be worth the cost when measured against billions of dollars in losses from storm-related outages. (San Antonio Express-News)

ALSO:
• A structural overhaul of Texas’ power grid after February’s collapse eludes state lawmakers as power-plant owners, retail power providers and traders threaten to reduce investment until a fix is found. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)
• NextEra Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company oppose Texas legislation that would increase costs for wind and solar farms to ensure a smooth flow of power to the grid.(Bloomberg)
• Chattanooga, Tennessee, and its municipal utility install diesel and natural gas generators, storage batteries and solar panels as “microgrids” to ensure power for emergency management agencies during storms and disasters. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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OIL & GAS:
• Texas energy stakeholders line up against a plan-turned-legislation for Berkshire Hathaway Energy to build 10 new natural gas power plants and bill the $8.3 billion cost to state ratepayers. (Texas Tribune)
• A congressional subcommittee sees bipartisan support for cleaning up and capping orphaned oil and gas wells, but Republicans say they oppose a bill to authorize $7.25 billion for cleanup because it imposes bonding requirements and fees on oil and gas companies. (Virginia Mercury; E&E News, subscription)
• The FBI finds a gang activity increases when oil prices rise in west Texas’ Permian Basin. (KWES)
• The Energy Information Administration projects that in May, Permian Basin production will reach its highest levels since the pandemic began. (E&E News, subscription)
• Divers search for 12 missing people from a capsized oil industry boat off the shore of Louisiana. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES:
• Ten power companies ask federal regulators to approve the regional power-sharing Southeast Energy Exchange Market over the objections of 13 public interest and sustainability organizations that argue it doesn’t meet regulatory requirements. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Duke Energy faces significant contention in regulatory fights in North Carolina and South Carolina over costs, rates and the timeline for retiring coal plants in its long-range planning documents. (Charlotte Business Journal)

COAL:
• West Virginia’s attorney general files to intervene in a regulatory case and seeks to prolong operation of a coal-fired plant after Appalachian Power warns it may close early in 2028. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• West Virginia miners get COVID-19 vaccines at a clinic set up outside a coal mine. (WOWK)

COAL ASH: Alabama regulators consider Alabama Power’s plan to cap and seal coal ash ponds at six plants as environmentalist decry leaving the ash near waterways. (Alabama Public Radio)

ECONOMY: A wave of clean energy and electric vehicle start-ups and initiatives sprout in the longtime banking city of Charlotte, North Carolina. (Charlotte Business Journal)

TRANSITION: The Virginia Council on Environmental Justice asks the governor to halt all new fossil fuel projects and permits in the state, including those for the long-delayed, already-under-construction Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Virginia Mercury)

SOLAR: Construction begins on a 631 MW solar farm outside Houston. (Renews)

WIND: Dominion Energy’s president says the installation of two turbines off Virginia’s coast was daunting but offered confidence-building lessons on how to “upstart this offshore wind industry.” (WVEC)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• North Carolina lawmakers advance legislation to criminalize non-electric vehicle drivers parking in electric vehicle charging stations. (Salisbury Post)
• Arkansas lawmakers vote to establish a grant program for electric vehicle chargers in anticipation of federal infrastructure money. (Arkansas Times)

COMMENTARY:
• The increasingly clean energy industry in Texas could finally cut into the influence of conservative lobbying organization ALEC and its fossil fuel advocacy in the state, writes a columnist. (Triple Pundit)
• Virginia should loosen utilities’ monopolistic grip on power generation to facilitate competition, lowered electricity prices and energy innovation, write two staffers from a trade association that represents competitive power suppliers. (Daily Press)

Mason Adams

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.