OIL & GAS: Investigations find Texas and New Mexico regulators rarely inspected oil and gas wells in the Permian Basin, spurring the growth of the natural gas industry, while both states also face the prospect of spending $335 million to plug and reclaim 7,000 abandoned wells. (Grist/Texas Observer)

ALSO:
• Public records show Texas regulators rushed to echo talking points from the oil and gas industry after February’s storm and outages, defending the sector while shifting blame to renewables. (Texas Tribune)
• Environmental groups fight to stop federal permitting of four proposed oil export terminals off the coast of Louisiana and Texas. (The Advocate)
• Natural gas companies and San Antonio’s city-owned utility trade accusations in court filings over blame for unexpected costs from February’s storm. (E&E News, subscription)
• Wall Street firms that invested in natural gas plants made millions in profits from February’s storm, partly because they took steps to manage risk and remain operational during severe weather. (Wall Street Journal)
• Royal Dutch Shell invests in a sustainable fuel company building an “alcohol-to-jet” facility in Georgia, the latest in a string of deals to gird the oil company for the clean energy transition. (Bloomberg)

***SPONSORED LINK: Receive continuing education credits, learn about new energy solutions and best practices, and connect with other energy industry professionals at the 2021 State Energy (Virtual) Conference of North Carolina, April 19-22. Learn more and register at www.NCenergyconference.com. *** 

TRANSITION: White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy says federal climate action needs to “make sure that there’s no worker and no community left behind” — particularly in coal- and gas-producing parts of Appalachia. (Ohio Valley ReSource)

SOLAR:
• Kentucky regulators consider a long-running case with far-reaching implications for net metering and the state’s solar industry. (Harlan Enterprise)
• West Virginia lawmakers advance a bill to exempt solar power purchase agreements from state regulators’ oversight. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Construction begins on a 500 MW solar project outside Houston. (Solar Power World)
• A retail gas company serving more than 400,000 customers largely across the Southeast announces it aims to spend $50 million on solar projects through 2023. (PV Magazine)
• The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana plans construction of a 1 MW solar array this summer as part of its program to train accredited solar technicians. (KTBS)

COAL: A judge grants additional time for a settlement between environmental groups and a coal company after finding water violations at a southern West Virginia coal mine. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

UTILITIES: Federal officials award $91 million to electric power associations across Mississippi to expand rural broadband internet service. (Daily Journal)

GRID:
• Public records reveal Entergy worked closely with Mississippi regulators to influence and block regional transmission projects. (Energy and Policy Institute)
• A Texas city approves a contract for an engineering firm to design an emergency backup power system around its water system to ensure drinking water is available during potential future blackouts. (KXII)
• Texas’ grid operator approves a 306 MW natural-gas fired generator for commercial operation, while 1.1 GW of wind, solar and battery capacity enters the queue to follow later this year. (S&P Global)

***SPONSORED LINK: NCSEA’s Making Energy Work webinar series is back by popular demand! Join hundreds of attendees from across the country to get the latest scoop on trending clean energy topics sweeping the industry. Register today, where energy policy gets to work: www.makingenergywork.com/2021.***

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: President Joe Biden’s commitment to expanding the use of electric vehicles is tested by a trade ruling against a Korean battery manufacturer, pushing the new administration to make an uncomfortable decision. (Politico)

COMMENTARY: The natural gas industry found a cozy regulatory environment in Texas, but it failed to deliver when needed during February’s winter storm, an economics professor writes. (Dallas Morning News)

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.