SOLAR: Solar energy development surges across Arkansas as independent contractors and utilities both turn toward renewables. (Arkansas Business)

ALSO:
• A southwestern Arkansas county buys and clears eight acres for a solar farm to power government buildings. (Texarkana Gazette)
• Gulf Power begins construction on two solar farms in northwest Florida with a goal of developing 1,560 MW of solar power in the region within 10 years. (WUWF)
• A southwestern Florida nonprofit receives funding to install solar panels on four of its buildings. (WFTX)
• A Texas county commission meets today to decide whether to award a tax abatement for a planned solar farm, with entities lining up to support and oppose it. (Brownwood Bulletin)
• An eastern Tennessee business owner reflects on how 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill inspired him to become an early adopter of solar panels, leading others to follow suit. (Johnson City Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is offering a virtual clean energy continuing legal education (CLE) course on Feb. 2, with a specific focus on the Southeast region. Register today! ***

OIL & GAS: Gulf Power changes Plant Crist’s name to Gulf Clean Energy Center to reflect its shift from coal to natural gas. (NorthEscambia.com)

PIPELINES: A survey commissioned by the Mountain Valley Pipeline finds that more than half of Virginians support its construction, although the number has declined since construction began in 2018. (Roanoke Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A northwestern Arkansas city adopts regulations for electric vehicle charging stations. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A Mississippi school district completes construction of energy efficiency upgrades in partnership with an electric company. (Delta Democrat-Times)

UTILITIES: A northern Virginia city mayor complains to Dominion Energy about numerous power outages, which hurt businesses already struggling during the pandemic. (WJLA)

POLITICS:
• Communities in the Ohio Valley pin their hopes on the Biden administration to invest in infrastructure in a region seeking to transition from coal. (WKYU)
• A Democratic lawmaker in West Virginia seeks bipartisan support to pass bills opening the door for more renewable energy in a state legislature dominated by Republicans and coal interests. (The State Journal)
• In West Virginia, environmental advocates cheer the Biden administration’s elevation of a federal regulator and call for investment in communities transitioning from coal, while Republican elected officials criticize its early moves. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COMMENTARY:
• South Carolina regulators’ skeptical response to Dominion Energy’s request for a rate hike suggests they are taking a more aggressive approach to oversight, writes a columnist. (Post and Courier)
• A shift in public opinion about climate change is reason for optimism, writes a Louisiana journalist. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• A farmer and retired district conservationist wrestles with whether farmland should be used for solar development. (Virginia Mercury)
• A newspaper editorial challenges two Virginia lawmakers who want to do away with ineffective coal tax credits to step up in assisting coal counties with economic transition. (Roanoke Times)

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.