ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ford’s announcement of electric vehicle and battery factories in Tennessee and Kentucky raises anticipation over what the jobs will look like compared to jobs lost in the clean energy transition. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Florida’s Miami-Dade County announces a new electric car charging station in a county-owned garage and the purchase of 42 electric buses. (Miami Herald)
• Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announces a new technical college to provide workforce training at Ford and SK Innovation’s electric vehicle megasite. (WSMV)

COAL:
• The federal government’s authority to collect reclamation fees to restore abandoned mine land expires after the U.S. House fails to pass a bill to reauthorize the program, though its funding pool remains available for now. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice compares daily COVID-19 death tolls to mining disasters to convince residents to receive vaccinations. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: A new report finds U.S. utilities took more than a billion dollars of pandemic relief money while disconnecting vulnerable households nearly a million times, with several Southeastern companies responsible for the most shutoffs. (Common Dreams)

RENEWABLES: A renewable energy advocacy group in north Texas shifts its attention to educating and ensuring people of color and women benefit from the surge of renewable jobs. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

GRID: A Sierra Club analysis of a federal report finds state lawmakers failed to adequately address frozen power plant equipment and natural gas shortages as root causes of Texas’ blackouts amid February’s winter storm. (San Antonio Current)

POLITICS:
• U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who holds sizable investments in fossil fuels, continues to play a key role in congressional negotiations over infrastructure packages as they reach a fever pitch. (Business Insider, Parkersburg News and Sentinel, E&E News)
• The head of a utility trade group that buys electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority asks federal regulators to exempt dozens of local electric companies from meeting proposed clean energy benchmarks because most do not generate their own power. (E&E News)
• Tennessee’s governor calls the state legislature into special session to approve incentives for Ford’s electric vehicle manufacturing megasite. (WTVF)

SOLAR: A company turns on the largest ever nonprofit solar installation in West Virginia. (WOWK)

NUCLEAR: Florida Power & Light files with federal regulators to extend its operation of two nuclear reactor units into the 2050s and 2060s. (Power Engineering)

OIL & GAS: A company announces construction of a 288 MW gas peaker plant near Houston to “support renewable energy development.” (news release)

BIOMASS: An Alabama city council approves incentives for a wood pellet plant at its port along the Tombigbee River. (South Alabamian)

COMMENTARY:
• Reclaimed surface mines in southwestern Virginia aren’t just barren voids waiting for industrial development but working ecosystems that support surprisingly diverse wildlife, writes a biologist. (Virginia Mercury)
• North Carolina lawmakers should reject a comprehensive energy bill because it loosens Duke Energy oversight while allowing the utility to recoup larger profits at ratepayers’ expense, writes a former Virginia attorney general and Trump administration official. (WRAL)
• A Dominion Energy spokesperson denies the utility overcharged customers and says cost hikes stem from recently retiring several fossil fuel plants to transition to cleaner energy. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
• A Florida electric vehicle driver considers whether charging at public stations should continue to be free. (CleanTechnica)

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.