OIL & GAS: Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell each reported losses of over $20 billion last week, reflecting an industry in decline with far-reaching implications for Texas, the top-producing oil state. (Houston Chronicle)

ALSO:
• An effort to push Texas lawmakers to pass a 25% tax on gas that is vented or flared during oil production encounters stiff opposition from the oil industry. (Austin American-Statesman)
• Enrollment in a Louisiana petroleum engineering curriculum has plummeted over the last five years as fossil fuels struggle to compete with renewables. (Acadiana Advocate)

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UTILITIES:
• Virginia’s largest utilities explore pilot programs to expand rural broadband by sharing fiber cables built during grid upgrades with local internet providers. (Energy News Network)
• A Kentucky county’s economic development board pushes back against a local utility’s effort to terminate its long-term contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority. (Bowling Green Daily News)

TRANSITION: West Virginia’s need for infrastructure upgrades as it transitions from coal, along with state U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s new influence, could make it a hotspot for federal investment and a model for other states that have fallen behind. (New York Times)

CLIMATE:
• As regulation of methane becomes a flash point between President Joe Biden’s administration and oil and gas producers, a team of scientists collects data on methane releases in Texas. (CNN)
• A bill introduced in Georgia would prohibit localities from writing energy policy into their building codes, stop fossil fuel bans and hamper efforts to transition to renewables. (Savannah Morning News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The city of Jacksonville, Florida, invests in its first electric buses. (Florida Times-Union)

SOLAR:
• Dominion Energy wants to significantly increase a fee charged to South Carolina customers with solar panels on their homes or businesses and change how they are paid for unused generation sent back to the grid. (Post and Courier)
• An Arkansas city begins sourcing power from a newly built, Entergy-owned solar array that will power a wastewater treatment plant and lift station. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

STORAGE: The co-owner of a pumped-storage hydroelectric facility in Virginia says it can help Appalachian Power Co.’s shift to meet a state mandate on carbon-free electricity. (Roanoke Times)

COMMENTARY:
• Jacksonville’s investments in electric buses and an autonomous vehicle network puts the Florida city at the forefront of a transportation and energy revolution, writes a city newspaper. (Florida Times-Union)
• A wave of coal bankruptcies, including two in December, points to the need for energy reform and transition programs to retrain fossil fuel workers, writes a Tennessee newspaper. (Crossville Chronicle)
• As Virginia’s legislature reaches its halfway point, several bills to reform the state’s utilities to favor consumers remain alive but still face challenges, writes a clean energy advocate. (Virginia Mercury)
• A regional director for Solar United Neighbors calls for Appalachian Power to stop limiting solar projects on schools in its service area. (Power for the People VA)
• Electric car technology is advancing rapidly, outpacing outdated public perceptions, writes an electric car owner in Virginia. (Roanoke Times)

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.