TRANSITION: Appalachian communities in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania can improve quality of life and keep more money local by investing in energy efficiency instead of natural gas operations, according to a report. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: The formerly coal-based economy of southwestern Virginia gradually gives way as the region’s outdoor recreation and broadband internet investments increasingly attract people who can work remotely. (WVTF) 

COAL: American Electric Power subsidiaries want to pitch new cost scenarios to keep a West Virginia coal-fired power plant operating past 2028 after Kentucky regulators rejected an earlier proposal to implement and recover costs for upgrades. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• A company announces plans to build a 60 MW solar farm in South Carolina. (The Times and Democrat)
• An Alabama utility announces it will build a 24-kilowatt solar canopy in the southern city of Fairhope, the first in a plan to place solar farms in each of its member cities. (GulfCoastNewsToday)

• Texas’ grid manager tells state officials and residents that it will call upon reserve power to guard against blackouts as the state moves into the hottest days of the summer. (Austin American-Statesman, Texas Tribune)
• Texas’ grid operator shifts its market model to replace a policy of rewarding generators with high prices during times of scarcity with an emphasis on reliability, although questions remain. (Texas Public Radio)
• A Texas company installing a 20 MW battery system next to a soon-to-be-retired Maryland coal plant shows how existing power facilities can offer renewable energy producers pathways onto the grid without building new transmission lines. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR: Opposition to interim nuclear waste storage sites in Texas and New Mexico grows, potentially scuttling the federal government’s plans to dispose of more than 80,000 metric tons of waste. (E&E News, subscription)

CLIMATE: Haze from western wildfires affects air quality in the Southeast, including North Carolina and Virginia. (WRAL, Lee Newspapers)

UTILITIES: Virginia lawmakers and climate justice advocates rally for President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan and federal funding for clean transportation such as electric school buses. (WVEC)

OVERSIGHT: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appoints a new member to the state’s utility regulation board. (Associated Press/Savannah Morning News)

• A Tennessee county seeks a $3 million grant from the state to help a maker of electric vehicle battery materials build a $160 million facility. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority produces a five-episode web series to promote electric vehicles. (Associated Press/WRCB)

• Memphis leaders must fill regulatory gaps and pass ordinances to prevent projects like the now-canceled Byhalia Connection pipeline from threatening the city’s water supply and most vulnerable communities, write two activists. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
• Americans in underserved communities fighting to recover from multiple climate and severe weather events need better support in science and public education, writes a U.S. Congress member from Dallas. (Dallas Morning News)
• A North Carolina bill to aid the conversion of coal-fired plants to natural gas undermines state regulators and the public by allowing Duke Energy to set multi-year rates, writes a columnist. (Reflector)

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.