COAL: A federal bankruptcy court holds a hearing today on coal operator Blackjewel’s plan to abandon nearly 200 mining permits in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, and observers say reclamation bonds won’t be enough to cover the cost of clean-up. (Inside Climate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Six major utilities covering much of the Southeast announce a collaborative plan to build electric vehicle chargers along major highways across the U.S., including in regions where electric vehicle sales are low and chargers are scarce. (Reuters; E&E News, subscription)

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• Texas regulators meet today for the first time since last month’s outages, amid calls to cut fees that skyrocketed during the crisis and will potentially swamp power companies and their customers. (Reuters)
• Mississippi regulators will audit Entergy’s membership in a regional transmission organization after last month’s ice storm exposed vulnerabilities to the state’s utility infrastructure. (Northside Sun, KNAU)
• Duke Energy estimates it spent up to $100 million to replace power that its wind farms and other renewable projects couldn’t generate during last month’s freeze. (Charlotte Business Journal)

• February’s winter storms, power outages and resulting spike in natural gas prices create a monumental challenge for the gas industry as it tries to recover costs. (S&P Global)
• The CEO of a Texas-based oil company says he expects the industry will see “very little growth” in the future. (Reuters)

• Memphis, Tennessee’s municipal utility explores the possibility of leaving the Tennessee Valley Authority for another power provider. (WMC-TV)
• Duke Energy’s long-term plan for North Carolina is met with criticism that it’s too reliant on fossil fuels and a legal challenge to its inclusion of new natural gas plants. (news releases)

CLIMATE: A University of Georgia survey shows that more than three-quarters of registered voters in the state say they are willing to pay more to combat climate change, including overwhelming support for building more solar generation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

• Mississippi lawmakers consider legislation to give some counties additional tax incentives to attract solar investment. (Chickasaw Journal)
• Duke Energy begins construction on a 50 MW solar facility in North Carolina. (Daily Energy Insider)
• Florida Power and Light places power-producing solar “trees” and “canopies” at public parks across the state. (Miami Today)

POLITICS: Since Democrats took control of the Virginia state legislature two years ago, they’ve passed sweeping climate legislation that includes more stringent auto emissions standards and an energy plan that aims for the state’s biggest electric utilities to go carbon-free by 2050. (Virginia Mercury)

• Dominion Energy’s plan to retire coal-fired generation in South Carolina by 2030 can be credited largely to state regulators who rejected a previous, less ambitious version of the utility’s plan, writes a newspaper editorial board. (The Post and Courier)
• Virginians must support onshore wind energy development on mountain ridges and other potential sites to make gains in a clean energy transition, writes the chairman of the Sierra Club Roanoke Group. (Roanoke Times)
• Energy analysts call for Texas to reestablish links to regional electric grids to avoid a repeat of last month’s massive outages and rolling blackouts. (Utility Dive)

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.