UTILITIES: A judge allows a lawsuit to proceed against the Tennessee Valley Authority by environmental groups who allege the utility’s auto-renewing, 20-year contracts with local power companies violate federal law and stymie transition from fossil fuels. (Memphis Commercial Appeal, Associated Press)

ALSO: The Tennessee Valley Authority will ask employees and contractors whether they have received the COVID-19 vaccine and may soon place restrictions on unvaccinated workers. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge says she lacks the authority to stop blasting of bedrock for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Roanoke Times)
• Federal regulators tentatively approve a request by Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross streams and wetlands with trenchless methods. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• The Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens a western Virginia village that is the most densely populated community in the state to be impacted by its construction. (Roanoke Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• The shift by Ford and the auto industry toward electric vehicles unsettles Kentucky’s automotive industry, which is home to four assembly plants and dozens of supplier manufacturers. (WDRB)
• Texas officials offer up grants and tax breaks to electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian as it considers building a factory near Fort Worth. (WFAA)

SOLAR:
• An Arkansas company breaks ground on two 200 kW solar arrays that will supply power to a city. (Arkansas Business)
• Georgia regulators warn homeowners against rooftop solar panel installers falsely advertising free electricity and free solar. (Capitol Beat News Service/Moultrie Observer)
• A New Jersey-based energy company will build a 1 MW solar carport with 23 MW of energy storage in Florida, as well as 5.5 MW and 11.5 MW standalone battery energy storage projects. (Capitolist) 

WIND: A renewables company completes a 180 MW wind farm in Texas. (Houston Business Journal)

GRID: Experts explain how Texans who purchase renewable energy plans support development of clean energy without necessarily receiving only wind and solar power. (KERA) 

OVERSIGHT: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appoints the leaders of the state’s coal and oil and gas associations to a recently reactivated energy authority. (WV News)

ADVANCED ENERGY: Tennessee’s advanced energy sector has been growing faster than the rest of the nation’s, helping offset declines in coal, oil and other traditional energy industries. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

COAL ASH: Georgia regulators issue a draft permit to allow a power company to cap one of four ash ponds at a power plant in an unlined pit near the Coosa River. (Capitol Beat News Service/Moultrie Observer)

COMMENTARY:
• Texas keeps coming back to fossil fuels even after natural gas plants “let us down” during February’s winter storm, writes an energy resources professor. (Dallas Morning News)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority’s intention to replace retired coal-fired plants with natural gas during a climate crisis is unacceptable, writes a conservationist. (Knoxville News-Sentinel)
• A Florida city’s transition to clean energy has been hampered by an onerous contract that led it to buy a biomass plant, a vote against a solar farm due to its location near a historically Black community, and its lack of space to build other solar facilities, writes an editorial board. (Gainesville Sun)

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.