GRID: Texas’ grid manager issued an electricity conservation watch despite normal spring weather, blaming a combination of capacity taken offline for maintenance and a stalled weather front and sparking larger concerns about energy demand through the summer. (Associated Press; E&E News, subscription)

• The president of a multigenerational family-owned Virginia car dealership greets the state’s sweeping new law to encourage electric vehicles as a “great first step” toward fighting climate change. (Energy News Network)
• Taiwanese electronic parts manufacturer Pegatron announces it will build a Texas factory, ostensibly to provide car parts to nearby automaker Tesla. (Teslarati)
• Duke Energy releases an online energy calculator to allow electric vehicle owners to see their gasoline savings. (WRAL)

***SPONSORED LINK: Receive continuing education credits, learn about new energy solutions and best practices, and connect with other energy industry professionals at the 2021 State Energy (Virtual) Conference of North Carolina, April 19-22. Learn more and register at *** 

UTILITIES: Oklahoma lawmakers prepare to propose issuing bonds for more than $4.5 billion in electricity costs from February’s storm, even as the question of who pays in Texas plays out in courts and in the state legislature. (CNHI/Claremore Daily Progress, Washington Post)

POLITICS: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia could play a key role in the success or failure of President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which may benefit his coal-reliant state but relies on raising the corporate tax rate, which Manchin opposes. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s announces a 20 MW solar farm that will supply three-quarters of the power for its Tennessee distillery. (WRCB)
• Virginia lawmakers announce a 60 MW solar farm in a southwestern coal-producing county. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
• A Florida community whose power needs are met by a 150 MW solar farm bills itself as “the first solar-powered town in the country.” (PBS NewsHour)
• The National Audubon Society announces that a 35 KW solar array will provide all of its electricity at a center in Arkansas. (Talk Business & Politics)

COAL: The owner of a former coal-fired power plant in Virginia plans to redevelop the site into a 50 MW solar and 190 MW energy storage facility. (Virginia Mercury)

• A natural gas driller deploys new technology in Louisiana to monitor methane emissions. (The Advocate)
• West Virginia lawmakers fail to pass a number of bills intended to shore up a $1.3 million budget shortfall in the agency that regulates 75,000 oil and gas wells across the state. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

***SPONSORED LINK: NCSEA’s Making Energy Work webinar series is back by popular demand! Join hundreds of attendees from across the country to get the latest scoop on trending clean energy topics sweeping the industry. Register today, where energy policy gets to work:***

PIPELINES: A West Virginia congressional representative holds an online forum to discuss President Joe Biden’s executive order canceling Keystone XL, warning the action may affect “one of many pipeline projects under the microscope” such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Inter-Mountain; E&E News, subscription)

• February’s winter storm and outages in Texas should serve as a wake-up call throughout the country to take urgent action against climate change, writes an opinion editor. (The Red & Black)
• Congress should pass a pair of bills that would in part aim to restore at least $11.46 billion of unreclaimed, abandoned coal mines, writes the president of a Virginia conservation group. (Bristol Herald-Courier)
• The $16 billion tucked in President Biden’s infrastructure plan to plug abandoned oil and gas wells and reclaim abandoned mines marks a surprisingly strong commitment to cleaning up the mess from fossil fuels, but could also become a de facto bailout for irresponsible companies, writes a journalist. (American Prospect)
• Florida communities should embrace solar power and endeavor to make renewable energy the norm, writes a climate advocate. (Gainesville Sun)

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.