UTILITIES: Duke Energy’s efforts to expand a popular energy-efficiency program across North Carolina attract stiff opposition from gas distributors — including one of its own subsidiaries — that say the program will cost them customers. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• An oil and gas supplier sues San Antonio’s municipal utility over its failure to pay nearly $100 million for natural gas during February’s winter storm. (Reuters)
• The head of Entergy New Orleans steps down and will be replaced by a Texas official as the utility faces criticism over its handling of power outages on Mardi Gras. (NOLA.com)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority has hardened infrastructure around its essential operations after a tornado cut power to more than 850,000 residents a decade ago. (WAAY)

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NUCLEAR:
Georgia Power begins the final phase of testing for the first of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle after years of unexpected delays and costs. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority completes a major turbine upgrade at its oldest and biggest nuclear facility, Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

COAL: West Virginia regulators will fine a Kentucky coal company $125,000 for water pollution violations at 15 different sites in five counties from 2018 through 2020. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

SOLAR:
• A longtime Tampa congressperson says a new bill to expand community solar projects and energy accessibility will create 2 million jobs. (Florida Daily)
• Mississippi regulators approve a 1.3 MW solar facility with battery storage for Mississippi Power to use as a demonstration and research project. (Northside Sun)

OIL & GAS:
• The CEO of Texas’ largest power producer cites natural gas as the primary cause of a projected $1.6 billion financial hit from February’s winter storm. (E&E News, subscription)
• Nine oil refineries and chemical companies agree to pay the federal government $5.5 million for improper disposal of waste that has contaminated much of Louisiana’s Calcasieu River estuary. (NOLA.com)
• Three groups request Virginia regulators revisit a proposed natural gas plant’s air permit because they say it shares the same “defects” of a  similar permit struck down by a federal court last year. (Virginia Mercury)
• Two Arkansas residents sue 29 companies that do business at a sand mining and fracking business for heavy traffic and allegedly contaminating drinking water. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Students at Kentucky’s Murray State University showcase the first-ever electric vehicle to be designed and constructed by its college students. (Murray Ledger & Times)

POLITICS:
• Southeastern energy powerhouses Florida and Texas, as well as North Carolina, gain congressional seats after the 2020 U.S. Census. (E&E News, subscription; CNBC)
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott draws criticism for tweeting a distortion of President Joe Biden’s climate plan falsely suggesting it would require Americans to cut nearly all red meat from their diets. (San Antonio Express News)

COMMENTARY:
• Last week’s union endorsement of clean-energy jobs in return for preservation of coal production is complicated by the green hydrogen industry’s potential to close off coal employment pathways that previously seemed safe, writes a columnist. (Triple Pundit)
• The challenge of reducing carbon emissions goes hand in hand with revitalizing coal- and gas-dependent places like West Virginia that will be further devastated by an anti-carbon future, writes a columnist. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

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.