ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A North Carolina board makes changes to the state building code that would allow developers to skimp on insulation and other energy-saving basics in exchange for flashier additions such as solar panels and super-efficient appliances. (Energy News Network)

BIOGAS: North Carolina regulators approve an air permit for a renewable gas facility owned by Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy, but the 19 hog farms that will provide the methane still need permits. (NC Policy Watch)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A new report calls for more rural charging stations to accommodate anticipated exponential growth in Florida’s electric vehicle use over the next decade. (WCTV)

NUCLEAR: A 35-year-old Mississippi nuclear plant spent nearly three-quarters of 2020 at zero or reduced power for maintenance and other reasons, raising questions about nuclear power’s long-term reliability. (E&E News, subscription) 

POLITICS: A three-term Republican incumbent holds off a Democratic challenger to win re-election to Georgia’s utility regulation commission in Tuesday’s runoff. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

• Owners of the 135-mile Double E natural gas pipeline seek permission from federal regulators to start construction in Texas and New Mexico, in hopes of beginning operations later this year. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• A natural gas pipeline connecting the Permian Basin in west Texas with Gulf Coast refineries and export terminals begins operations. (Albuquerque Journal)
• Restoration of land along the canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s route will begin this year in North Carolina and Virginia, but won’t start in West Virginia until 2022. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• South Carolina regulators order Dominion Energy to assess its coal-fired power plants and consider replacing them with cleaner energy sources. (PV Magazine)
• Leaders in Jacksonville, Florida, say the investigation of a former mayor’s multi-year attempt to sell the city’s electric utility shows the need for more transparency in city government. (Jacksonville Daily Record)
• Virginia regulators approve a new service fee for Appalachian Power, with proceeds going to programs intended to buffer low-income customers from the cost of moving to renewable energy. (Roanoke Times)

GRID: Dominion Energy seeks approval from Virginia regulators for unpermitted work platforms and other changes as it builds an underwater transmission line in the Rappahannock River. (Rappahannock Record)

• A Florida news station’s meteorologist touts the benefits of wind and solar energy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. (WKMG)
• An economist recalls his experiences with West Virginia’s coal industry as he charts its decline as an employer and economic power. (Greenfield Daily Reporter)
• Democratic victories in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections give President-elect Joe Biden the opportunity to go big on climate change and other issues, writes an opinion columnist. (Bloomberg)

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.