COAL: Kentucky residents worry that bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel may abandon many of its unreclaimed surface mines, leaving a massive environmental mess for taxpayers and communities. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

ALSO: A new report says the cost of reclaiming nearly half a million billion acres of mined land in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee may amount to $6 billion — more than twice than the $2.5 billion available in bonds for cleanup. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

***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! ***

POLITICS:
• A coalition of 20 advocacy groups press Virginia lawmakers to build on last year’s sweeping Clean Economy Act by directing automakers to deliver more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles. (Energy News Network)
• West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, likely to be chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, emerges as a possible check on Democratic efforts to advance carbon-free policies. (Washington Examiner)

OIL & GAS: Entergy begins commercial operations at a two-unit, 993 MW natural gas plant in Texas. (Power Magazine)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Hitachi announces a new factory in Kentucky to make motors for electric vehicles. (The Lane Report)

SOLAR:
• A Tennessee-based construction company announces it will build a 100 MW solar facility in Georgia. (Solar Power World)
• Two electric utilities in Kansas and Missouri add new solar operations. (Joplin Globe)

NUCLEAR: Despite a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and production delays at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Power still expects to put the two new nuclear units in commercial operation by November. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

WIND: Wind farms in Oklahoma and on the Texas-New Mexico line are among 15 farms in 12 states — with a collective capacity of 2.5 GW — that began operations around the new year. (Windpower Monthly)

COAL ASH: Georgia Power prepares to begin removing more than 2 million tons of coal ash by draining ponds and releasing treated water from a decommissioned power plant. (Albany Herald)

GRID: The Tennessee Valley Authority seeks public input on a transmission upgrade in northeastern Tennessee. (WJHL)

UTILITIES: A new lawsuit by General Electric accuses Siemens Energy of benefiting from trade secrets it improperly received from a Dominion Energy employee in 2019, when GE & Siemens both bid on gas turbine equipment and servicing for Dominion. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• An Oklahoma business writer recounts the state’s history with the oil, natural gas and renewable energy industries, arguing that consumers and markets ultimately control the future of energy production. (The Oklahoman)
• A Texas lawmaker’s proposed annual fee for electric and hybrid vehicles would supplement gas tax revenues to fund maintenance of state roads, write a pair of state planning and economics professors. (San Antonio Express-News)

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.