RUSSIA: President Biden said in a news conference Thursday that sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be “severe” but are designed to minimize energy disruptions. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• Biden also said the U.S. could release oil from strategic reserves to minimize impact on gasoline prices, as an industry leader says oil companies are “patriots” who would not exploit the crisis for profit. (The Hill, CNN Business)
• ExxonMobil is among global companies with major stakes in Russia that stand to lose from global sanctions. (CNN Business)
• While activists say the invasion makes a case for ending reliance on fossil fuels, Russia also holds a wealth of nickel, copper and other materials needed for clean energy technology, further complicating efforts to impose sanctions. (E&E News)

GRID:
• The former head of Texas’ grid management agency testifies in court that Gov. Greg Abbott ordered him to keep power prices as high as possible for several days during last year’s winter storm blackouts — an account the governor disputes. (Houston Chronicle, KXAS)
• Three white supremacists plead guilty to terrorism charges in a plot to attack the U.S. power grid with hopes of igniting a racial conflict. (Washington Post)
• China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining means many data centers are now trying to move their operations to the U.S. (NPR)

CLIMATE: Increased combustion of plastics in waste-to-energy plants could be releasing powerful greenhouse gases, but scientists say there isn’t enough information to determine the scope of the problem. (Energy News Network/Maine Monitor

WIND:
Bidding continues in the federal offshore wind leasing auction for parcels in New York and New Jersey waters, with bids already totaling $3.35 billion, or more than double earlier expectations. (Reuters, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Federal officials identify three potential wind power development areas off Oregon’s coast and say they will hold a lease sale by early 2024. (OffshoreWind.biz)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators are backing away from plans to extend licenses to allow three nuclear plants to run for 80 years. (E&E News)

COAL: A southeastern Ohio coal plant may be in jeopardy of closing as the U.S. EPA proposes to deny extending the plant’s coal ash permit amid the agency’s broader clamp down on coal ash pollution. (Ohio Capital Journal)

HYDROGEN: New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming partner on a plan for a regional hydrogen hub to compete for a share of $8 billion in federal infrastructure funds. (Albuquerque Journal)

UTILITIES: Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha has filed for an emergency stay seeking to block the proposed sale of the state’s largest gas and electric distribution utility pending an appeal over the buyer’s climate commitments. (Energy News Network)

COMMENTARY:
• Retired military leaders say “energy independence” is a myth and that electrification still leaves the U.S. dependent on “nations that do not share our interests and values.” (New York Times)
• Climate activist Bill McKibben says a quicker transition to clean energy will help Europe ensure its independence from Russian fossil fuels. (The Guardian)
• An economist says PJM’s capacity auctions overcompensate power plants and cause direct harm to environmental justice communities in which many of them are located. (Utility Dive)

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Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.