UTILITIES: A Virginia electric cooperative wants to raise its fixed rates despite critics who say doing so penalizes low-income customers and judicious energy users, and means solar power and energy efficiency measures will have a reduced effect on bills. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: The former head of a Kentucky gas and pipeline company will become the new president and CEO of South Carolina-owned utility Santee Cooper. (Messenger Inquirer, WLTX)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Electric vehicle maker Rivian confirms it will start building a $5 billion factory near Atlanta next spring, and says it expects to deliver completed electric vehicles in two years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WABE, Georgia Recorder)
• An economic development official in Fort Worth, Texas, says Georgia “just outbid us” to win the Rivian factory despite Fort Worth offering a $440 million tax incentive package. (Dallas Morning News)
• Tesla is expected to begin production at its Texas factory soon, as CEO Elon Musk says it will invest over $10 billion and eventually employ 20,000 workers there. (Electrek)
• North Carolina looks to add more chargers as it reaches a quarter of Gov. Roy Cooper’s goal of adding 80,000 registered electric vehicles by 2025. (WRAL)

GRID:
Texas regulators approve changes to the state’s electricity market that will likely boost natural gas, coal and nuclear power generators over wind and solar. (KXAN, Austin American-Statesman)
• As climate change leads to more power outages, more people are buying portable generators deemed dangerous due to their potential to emit deadly carbon monoxide. (Texas Tribune/ProPublica/NBC News)

OIL & GAS:
• The coronavirus pandemic and resulting sag in Louisiana’s oil industry is accelerating a transition to wind and solar. (Grist)
• Two bidders want to restart a troubled oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands despite two bankruptcies, a troubled environmental past and a shaky financial outlook. (Inside Climate News)
• Royal Dutch Shell will buy solar and battery storage company Savion to grow its renewable energy holdings. (Houston Chronicle)

COAL: Federal regulators say a lack of adequate policies and controls at two West Virginia coal mines contributed to accidents that killed two miners on consecutive days last summer. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

CLIMATE: Members of a Louisiana climate task force warn their latest draft recommendations won’t likely meet Gov. John Bel Edwards’ goal of “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050. (NOLA.com)

SOLAR: A Virginia economic development group gives a grant to a community college for workforce development and to install 10 kW of solar panels for a student housing project. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)

COMMENTARY:
Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have seen wins and losses this month, but the fight continues, write members of an activist group. (Appalachian Voices)
• A Virginia state senator calls for Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s spending plan to build out more clean energy, cut carbon pollution 50% by 2030 and create good-paying jobs. (Washington Post)
• A Florida social justice group will take aim at utility costs that disproportionately affect low-income Black households and people on fixed incomes, writes the group’s director. (Gainesville Sun)

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.