CORRECTION: Tim Echols is a Georgia Public Service Commissioner; an item in yesterday’s digest misidentified him as the state’s governor.

HURRICANE IDA: New Orleans officials report 11 additional deaths from Hurricane Ida, mostly older residents who died from the heat during power outages, raising the storm’s death toll to 26 in Louisiana. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• More than three quarters of the oil and gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico still remains offline 10 days after Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• Despite widespread damage to transmission lines and other parts of the grid, preliminary loss estimates for Hurricane Ida total only $25 billion — far below the cost of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (S&P Global)

GRID: Texas customers hit with exorbitant electric bills during February’s winter storm are told they can sue natural gas and electricity providers after a judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit against bankrupt wholesale power company Griddy Energy. (Dallas Morning News)

PIPELINES: A Tennessee planning commission near Memphis votes to require setbacks between future pipeline developments and residential areas, leading the way for a likely anti-pipeline ordinance still to come. (Tennessee Lookout) 

SOLAR:
• Residents in New Orleans and elsewhere look to solar and battery backup systems to keep power on as climate-fueled extreme weather threatens centralized electrical grids. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
• Renewables combine to provide less than 10% of the power produced by Duke Energy in North Carolina, compared to 50% nuclear, 25% natural gas and 16% coal. (Asheville Citizen-Times)

ENERGY STORAGE: A South Korean electric vehicle battery maker buys a U.S. electric storage developer and says it will invest $1 billion in the company to develop battery systems in the Northeast, Midwest and Texas. (Bloomberg)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Florida and Texas have the second and third most electric vehicles registered of any U.S. states, despite the fact that neither have passed zero-emission vehicle mandates. (Green Car Reports)

OVERSIGHT:
• Piedmont Natural Gas reaches an agreement with consumer and industrial groups to reduce its request rate increase in North Carolina from $8 to $5.50 a month for the average customer. (Winston-Salem Journal)
• Florida’s governor reappoints two state regulators to the Florida Public Service Commission. (Florida Politics)

CLIMATE: The growing number of climate-driven extreme weather events has changed the shape of Louisiana’s barrier islands, with Hurricane Ida destroying the one barrier island inhabited enough to make a vibrant community. (The Advocate)

BIOGAS: North Carolina residents express concerns about an expansive hog-to-gas project being developed by Smithfield and Dominion Energy, which advocates tout as green energy but critics call greenwashing of a pork company that has been a source of rampant water, soil, and air pollution. (Yale Environment 360)

COMMENTARY: Texas law- and policymakers must respond to population growth and an outsized number of climate-driven extreme weather events with a focus on energy efficiency, smart planning and energy diversification, writes a graduate student. (Dallas Morning News)

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.