COAL: Kentucky regulators reject a utility’s request to recover costs for upgrades to keep a West Virginia coal plant open through 2040, increasing the likelihood it closes by 2028. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

GRID: A new report says the Texas grid operator’s demand response program cut power to critical natural gas infrastructure amid the power crisis during February’s winter storm. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

OIL & GAS: A bankrupt St. Croix oil refinery forced to close due to foul odors and noxious releases needs at least $1 billion to complete an overhaul and remain viable, according to lawyers and others involved in its bankruptcy. (Reuters)

SOLAR:
A planning commission in southern Virginia recommends denying a special use permit for a solar farm after local officials and residents fret that it’s too close to a town park. (Gazette-Virginian)
Residents in a Virginia county push back against a proposed 3 MW solar farm over concerns about views and effects on agriculture. (Fauquier Times)
A company seeks Kentucky state approval for a 50 MW solar facility. (The Gleaner)
A solar array will provide 40% of the power for a new junior high school in Texas. (Houston Chronicle)
Georgia Power was behind 93% of solar installations in Georgia in 2020, and has regulatory approval for 970 MW of utility-scale solar through power-purchase agreements in 2021 so far. (news release)

TRANSITION:
A West Virginia county commission agrees to back efforts by Reimagine Appalachia to advocate for more federal dollars to flow into energy development in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. (Parkersburg News & Sentinel)
An Oklahoma cabinet official visits Washington, D.C., to speak with federal officials about grid modernization, renewables and hydrogen even as the state’s congressional representatives focus on oil and gas. (KOTV)

CARBON: A Virginia judge rejects a manufacturing trade group’s attempt to thwart the state’s entry into a regional carbon-trading network. (Virginia Mercury)

COMMENTARY:
Placing a price on greenhouse gases and air pollutants like particulate matter would benefit Appalachian coal communities, writes a climate activist. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)
Texas regulators owe state residents an explanation after giving a full-throated defense of the natural gas industry despite its central role in February’s blackouts, 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.