RENEWABLES: Most wind and solar power installed last year is generating cheaper power than the lowest-cost fossil fuel alternative, an International Renewable Energy Agency report finds. (Recharge)

SOLAR:
• The Biden administration formally bans imports of a critical solar panel material from a Chinese company over alleged human rights abuses and bars exports to other Chinese polysilicon makers. (Reuters, Axios)
• Amazon announces plans for new renewable energy projects that include a 175 MW solar farm in Mississippi and facilities in at least 10 other states. (Associated Press)
• A new study shows utility-scale solar generation across the Southeast is projected to double from 2020 levels by 2024. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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INFRASTRUCTURE: A bipartisan group of U.S. senators announce an agreement on their infrastructure proposal and will meet with President Biden today to discuss it, while Democratic leaders say they’ll try to push Biden’s plan without Republican support. (CBS News, Reuters)

CLIMATE:
Environmentalists say President Biden’s actions aren’t living up to the climate pledges he made in his first days in office, especially amid signs he may remove clean energy provisions from his infrastructure package. (Guardian)
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defends U.S. carbon neutrality pledges despite other large emitters’ refusal to make similar goals. (The Hill)
Massachusetts’ attorney general may proceed with a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil regarding its role in the climate crisis after a state judge rejected the oil and gas company’s attempt to dismiss it. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• An activist investor firm founded a year ago details how it got three climate-conscious members elected to Exxon Mobil’s board. (New York Times)
The U.S.’s pipeline safety agency isn’t adequately evaluating whether its regulatory changes are actually having an effect, a government watchdog report indicates. (E&E News, subscription)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says there’s no plan yet to permanently ban new drilling leases on public lands, despite President Biden’s pledge to do so. (The Hill)

UTILITIES:
Michigan’s Consumers Energy announces plans to retire its remaining coal-fired power plants by 2025 and replace them with clean energy and four existing natural gas plants. (Detroit News)
A New York investigation expands to examine whether National Grid ratepayers covered the costs of a kickback scheme that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes for numerous utility employees. (Newsday, subscription)

HEAT PUMPS: Minnesota’s new energy conservation law is expected to boost adoption of air source heat pumps as an alternative to propane and other fuel sources for heating. (Energy News Network)

GRID:
• Analysts and elected officials disagree over whether Texas’ summer grid strains are happening because legislative reforms haven’t yet taken effect or because those reforms don’t do enough to address problems. (The Hill, KSAT)
A high-pressure dome over Washington, Oregon and northern California will bring record-breaking, power grid-straining temperatures to the region this weekend. (Reuters)

PUBLIC LANDS: Uncertainty over the future location of the Bureau of Land Management headquarters hampers hiring of senior staffers. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: An editorial board argues for an increase in the federal gas tax to fund infrastructure repairs. (Los Angeles Times)