SOLAR: A proposed 300-400 MW solar plant on 3,400 acres in Louisiana spotlights how such projects can spark debate over the country’s environmental future, how best to regulate and tax it, and residents who feel trampled upon by industry. (The Advocate)

PIPELINES: A Virginia county asks state regulators to deny a company’s request that it be exempted from regulatory oversight on its plan to build a natural gas pipeline across five counties. (WRIC)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: A January 2020 federal court ruling slamming Virginia regulators for failing to study the risks of building a natural gas compressor station in a historic Black community prompts state officials and lawmakers to boost their efforts to better protect low-income and minority communities from industrial development. (E&E News)

UTILITIES:
• Environmental and social justice groups urge North Carolina lawmakers to scrap energy legislation that includes greenhouse gas reduction goals, largely because it would let Duke Energy seek multi-year rate increases. (WNCN)
• The former CEO of defunct South Carolina utility SCANA looks set for a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy charges over a cover-up in the failure of the V.C. Summer nuclear project. (The State)

BIOMASS: North Carolina residents complain of trouble breathing and other air quality issues in the years since a wood pellet plant began operating. (Guardian)

NUCLEAR: An engineering company plans a new demonstration nuclear reactor in Tennessee to test technologies that could be used in future power plants. (Oak Ridger)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Western Tennessee officials hail Ford’s plan to build a $5.6 billion electric vehicle and battery plant near Memphis as a game-changer that brings with it customized workforce training and “generational jobs” that could transform the region. (Commercial Appeal)

STORAGE: The South Korean battery companies powering the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry in factories across the Southeast grapple with a shortage of research and engineering specialists that could delay technological development. (Reuters)

EMISSIONS: Activists and insiders wait to see whether the EPA incorporates new aircraft- and satellite-based technologies, such as those that found super-emitters and low-level emitters in the Permian Basin, into new methane emission rules. (Canary Media)

EFFICIENCY: The Orlando Utilities Commission touts energy efficiency measures to meet central Florida’s growing energy needs while decreasing carbon emissions. (West Orange Times & Observer)

CRYPTOCURRENCY: Members of a Texas community like the idea of a cryptocurrency mining facility being built next door to an electrical substation that receives and distributes mostly renewable energy, especially wind power. (KJTV) 

COMMENTARY:
• A Virginia electric cooperative’s proposal to raise a fixed fee while decreasing use-based electricity rates benefits affluent, high-use customers while low-income customers will be less able to control their bills, writes an environmental activist and columnist. (Virginia Mercury)
• The congressional infrastructure bill and its planned clean energy transition threaten to completely upend West Virginia’s fossil fuel-reliant power grid and threaten a state economy already staggering from coal’s decline, writes a spokesperson for a conservative think tank. (Beckley Register-Herald)

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.