GRID: Overwhelmed grid operator PJM Interconnection seeks a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 mostly solar proposals in a 13-state region that includes Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. (Inside Climate News)

ALSO:
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state’s electrical grid is prepared for a winter storm set to arrive today that could push electricity demand close to what the state experienced last year when communities suffered widespread blackouts. (Dallas Morning News, Utility Dive)
• The arrival of frigid weather in Texas resurrects memories of last year’s storm and sets up a test of grid reforms that will begin to frame the state’s politics headed into this year’s elections. (Texas Tribune)
• West Virginia researchers receive $7.5 million in federal grants to better integrate renewable energy with the power grid. (news release)

CRYPTOCURRENCY:
• Elected officials from heavy coal states such as Kentucky and Texas move to facilitate crypto mining businesses that use an energy-intensive computing process to make bitcoins. (E&E News)
• The chair of a Tennessee board tells dozens of people complaining about the effects of a cryptocurrency operation that there’s nothing they can do because “there are no zoning laws here.” (WBIR)

SOLAR:
• Southwestern Electric Power Co. asks Arkansas regulators to approve a plan for it to buy power from a 72.5 MW solar facility to be built in Louisiana. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• Florida Power & Light began operations at a 75 MW solar farm in Florida at the end of last year. (NorthEscambia.com)
• Mississippi Power seeks power-purchase agreements with solar projects of at least 20 MW. (ReNews.biz)

GAS & OIL:
• The U.S. Interior Department feels pressure from the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists after a judge remands the question of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico back to it to decide whether to cancel, change or maintain the sale. (The Hill)
• An analyst predicts a combination of rising oil prices and low natural gas prices will boost Louisiana’s economy, especially its heavy industrial sector. (The Advocate)
• ExxonMobil boosts its low-carbon division and accelerates its greenhouse gas emission reduction schedule, including a new goal of reaching net-zero carbon from its own operations in the Permian Basin by 2030. (E&E News, S&P Global)

WIND:
• Coastal residents of North Carolina still have questions about offshore wind potential and aren’t yet convinced by renderings that show turbines would have minimal visual impact. (Coastal Review)
• An energy firm secures deals with McDonald’s, Walmart and other large corporations to buy power from a pair of 303 MW wind farms in Oklahoma. (Journal Record)

CLIMATE: A steelmaker preparing to build in West Virginia promises “one of the lowest carbon footprints of any sheet mill in the world.” (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

UTILITIES:
• Georgia Power plans to close 12 coal units by 2028 and its final coal plant in 2035, replacing them with 2,356 MW in natural gas and 2,300 MW of renewables. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority raises rates to their highest in three years as fuel and purchased power expenses jumped by more than 50% in the first quarter of the fiscal year. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

POLITICS: Virginia lawmakers from both parties kill a bill that would have ended Dominion Energy’s ability to make campaign contributions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COMMENTARY: Texas should implement smart-grid measures that would trade consumers a reduced bill for allowing utilities to remotely adjust little-used appliances when demand peaks to better balance the load, writes a columnist. (Houston Chronicle)

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.