OVERSIGHT: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm pledges to help fossil fuel workers translate their skills to clean energy: “What are we here for if not to give people opportunity and to help save our planet?” (CNN) 

ALSO: Granholm says the Energy Department will revive a federal loan guarantee program, overseen by solar entrepreneur Jigar Shah, that will offer up to $40 billion for clean energy projects. (Associated Press)

GRID:
• Texas’ grid operator fires its top executive and bars a second electric provider from operating on the grid as fallout from last month’s storm-driven outages and price spikes continues. (Associated Press, Reuters)
• A House oversight committee begins an investigation of the Texas energy crisis. (The Hill)
• The last quarter of 2020 saw a massive surge in energy storage deployment, with more than 2.2 GWh put into service, according to a new report. (E&E News)

CLIMATE:
• A new Government Accountability Office report warns that climate change poses a “significant fiscal risk” to the U.S., and criticizes both the Obama and Trump administrations for inaction. (E&E News, subscription)
• The pandemic-induced drop in emissions seen in 2020 needs to be replicated every two years to meet Paris climate agreement goals, research shows. (The Guardian)
• Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods suggested there’s overlap between the company’s emissions reductions plans and Biden’s climate change-fighting measures. (New York Times)
• Analysts suggest the fossil fuel industry is starting to embrace carbon pricing because it may be the climate policy that hurts them the least. (Bloomberg)
• A Boston-area investor says fund managers now see “climate tech” as an opportunity to promote sustainability and clean energy innovation. (Boston Globe)

POLITICS: The Biden administration sees Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski as a potential Republican swing vote who could help advance climate policy. (Washington Post)

COAL: Colorado regulators find that Xcel Energy’s newest coal plant has had more than 700 days of unplanned maintenance shutdowns and has been more expensive to operate than anticipated. (Colorado Sun)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A Kansas City pilot project seeks to install electric vehicle chargers on 30 to 60 streetlights this year as a way to improve charging access. (Energy News Network)
• General Motors plans to build a second battery factory and is eyeing Tennessee as a probable location as it ramps up its investment in electric vehicles. (Associated Press)

WIND:
• Wind energy is helping to preserve the economy in a coal-dependent Wyoming county, but many residents still aren’t ready to embrace a shift to clean energy. (New York Times)
Federal officials say they are resuming an environmental review of the Vineyard Wind offshore project in Massachusetts after the developer requested suspension a few months ago. (WorkBoat)

PIPELINES: Minnesota activists mark the 30th anniversary of a major inland oil spill from the Line 3 pipeline, which Enbridge is seeking to replace and expand. (MPR News)

OIL & GAS: California Rep. Katie Porter says she will focus on reforming oil and gas royalty rates in her new position as chair of the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee. (Reuters) 

EQUITY: The San Carlos Apache Tribe faces a daunting fight to protect sacred land in Arizona from a copper mining project that has the backing of the U.S. government. (NBC News)

MEDIA: A new report shows that the term “global warming” has fallen out of favor since 2010, and usage of “climate crisis” is catching on. (Grist)

COMMENTARY:
• An advocate says that the Texas energy crisis highlights the need to cancel utility debt for people struggling amid the pandemic. (In These Times)
• A climate activist says there are numerous ways to cut emissions from making the steel and concrete needed to address infrastructure challenges. (New York Times)
• “Ensuring the rights of Native people are respected is critical” as the U.S. and Canada set out to craft bilateral climate policies following the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline, a journalist writes. (Vox)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.