POLITICS: Democrats held leads this morning in both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections, but the Republican incumbent for a seat on the state’s utility commission had a 69,000 vote lead over his Democratic challenger with more than 99% of vote counted. Official results here. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) 

ALSO: Parts of southwestern Virginia’s coalfields may go unrepresented in the 2021 Virginia Senate after the COVID-19-related death of a state lawmaker last week. (Roanoke Times)

OVERSIGHT:
• Environmental groups sue the EPA for dragging its feet with a response to their challenge of eight permits issued by Texas regulators for projects that include an oil refinery and coal-fired power plant. (Texas Tribune)
• A new commissioner takes her seat on Virginia’s utility regulation board after her predecessor was appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (Augusta Free Press) 

SOLAR:
• Florida regulators approve Duke Energy’s plan to finance 750 MW of new solar power largely through customers who will pre-pay for clean energy and receive credits later. (Orlando Sentinel)
• After a southern Virginia planning commission denied its plans to build a solar farm on a former golf course last month, a North Carolina energy developer plans to appeal the decision to a circuit court judge. (Martinsville Bulletin)
• A new solar farm begins operations at Eastern Kentucky University, which now has the largest solar capacity of any public college in Kentucky. (WKYT)

UTILITIES:
• North Carolina regulators will decide next week whether Duke Energy needs permission to form a regional energy exchange market with other utilities. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Mississippi regulators order Mississippi Power to retire 950 MW of generation capacity by 2027, or provide justification for the excess capacity. (Delta Democrat-Times)

TRANSITION: A Texas city council presses for answers about the clean-up of a coal-fired plant it jointly owns with three other cities that is slated for potential closure. (Denton Record-Chronicle)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A central Virginia county receives two of the first electric school buses set to roll out across the state as part of a Dominion Energy program. (WWBT)
• A northern Virginia grocery store opens new electric-vehicle charging stations at one of its locations, with plans for more at another location later this year. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)

PIPELINES:
• Virginia regulators assert that the Mountain Valley Pipeline doesn’t qualify for a national stream-crossing permit, creating more complications for the already-delayed, over-budget natural gas pipeline. (Roanoke Times)
• The now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline publicly releases plans for restoration and disposal of land and facilities by 2022. (Lynchburg News & Advance)

BIOMASS: Florida regulators approve a tariff to allow Florida City Gas to build and operate renewable natural gas projects. (Biomass Magazine)

COMMENTARY:
• Observers weigh the effects that this week’s runoff election in Georgia for two pivotal U.S. Senate seats may have on the oil and gas industry. (KTRK)
• Closing another coal-fired power plant in West Virginia by 2028 would have a broad impact on the region’s economy, writes a local newspaper. (The Logan Banner)

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.