OVERSIGHT: North Carolina’s utility customer advocate argues that Duke Energy doesn’t need state approval to join a regional energy exchange market with other utilities. (Charlotte Business Journal)

PIPELINES: Tree sitters in western Virginia continue to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline, more than 50 days since a judge ordered them down. (The Trek)

WIND: Construction begins on a 345 MW wind farm in central Texas, with plans to begin operations later this year. (Energy Global)

• General Motors Co. reportedly will build two new electric vehicles for Honda, including an Acura to be built at its Spring Hill plant in Tennessee. (E&E News, subscription)
• Electric vehicle maker Tesla anticipates construction of new manufacturing plants, including one in Texas, will enable it to meet rising global demand. (Bloomberg)

• Duke Energy buys a solar power facility under construction near Austin, Texas, in an effort to double its renewable energy capacity by 2025. (WRAL)
• A West Virginia county approves tax incentives for a 100 MW solar farm planned for a brownfield site. (Herald-Mail Media)
• A Tennessee-based solar company with operations in 15 states closes a round of investment that attracted $225 million from existing shareholders. (Tennessean)

• A newly elected Republican congressman from Texas introduces a bill to prohibit President-elect Joe Biden from declaring a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling permits on federal lands. (KOSA)
• A retired coal mining executive from southwestern Virginia is among the eight citizens appointed to the state’s new bipartisan redistricting commission that will draw new legislative districts. (Virginia Mercury)

• A small North Carolina electric cooperative fights energy poverty through broadband internet expansion and deploying “smart” devices to lower energy bills, writes its president and CEO. (Triangle Business Journal)
• The Republican utility regulator who won reelection in Georgia this week has expressed tentative support for solar power, but needs to more strongly advocate for it, writes a publication that supports electric vehicles and renewables. (Electrek)
• A Republican congressman from Kentucky warns against the Federal Reserve incorporating climate change concerns into financial regulation. (CNBC)

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.