OIL & GAS: North Carolina lawmakers advance legislation to prohibit local governments from banning natural gas connections in new buildings, though there’s no indication that any cities are considering such policies. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Federal officials will award $110 million from an oil and gas revenue-sharing agreement for coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects in Louisiana. (NOLA.com)
• West Virginia lawmakers pass a bill to change how oil and natural gas properties are valued for tax purposes, despite pushback from representatives of gas-producing counties concerned about reduced local tax revenue. (Weirton Daily Times)

***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 www.NCenergyconference.com. *** 

TEXAS:
• Texas legislation to change oversight of the grid and to require power plants to winterize passes both chambers but still is far from finalized, with differences in the versions including how to address failures in natural gas delivery. (Associated Press, Houston Chronicle)
• Some experts say the series of bills passed so far doesn’t go far enough to prepare electricity infrastructure for increased risks posed by climate change. (The Eagle)
• A study finds that nearly 70% of customers on Texas’ primary grid lost power during February’s storm for an average of 42 hours each. (Texas Tribune)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: West Virginia lawmakers pass a bill to measure and benchmark energy use in state buildings, requiring a 25% reduction from 2018 levels by 2030. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

RENEWABLES: West Virginia lawmakers also pass a bill to establish a reclamation bonding program for wind and solar facilities, with the legislation’s lead sponsor saying the state should learn from its many abandoned strip mines and gas wells. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

STORAGE: A Duke Energy official says that as the U.S. scales up battery production, other pieces of the supply chain such as new mines will likely grow as well. (Energy Storage News)  

COAL:
• Companies owned by the family of West Virginia’s governor push back against federal officials who seek $3.19 million stemming from a 2016 agreement to settle more than 23,000 water pollution violations. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Speakers disagree at a public meeting over Alabama Power’s plan to seal coal ash in place at a power plant near Mobile. (WALA)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Volkswagen announces that it is changing its U.S. branding to “Voltswagen of America” — including at its Chattanooga factory — then admits it lied to journalists as part of a publicity stunt. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• President Joe Biden’s plan to generate 30 GW of offshore wind power along the East Coast should be a great fit for North Carolina, where an agency recently released a report touting the state’s advantages within the industry, writes a broadcasting company. (WRAL)
“Move your ash, Alabama Power”: An editorial cartoon addresses the utility’s plan to seal coal ash in place. (AL.com)

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.