OUTAGES: Several directors of Texas’ grid operator resign as the entity is beset by lawsuits and a growing number of investigations after last week’s power outages. (Politico, San Antonio Express-News, Texas Tribune)

ALSO:
• A irreconcilable partisan split in blame for the Texas power outages signals renewable energy’s emergence as a cultural wedge issue. (Guardian)
Misinformation about the causes of the Texas outages continues to fester as conservatives falsely blame wind turbines. (CNN)
• New Orleans begins an investigation of Entergy after the utility admits it cut three times as much power as needed on Mardi Gras. (NOLA.com, Associated Press)
• Communities in West Virginia begin their third week without power, with restoration in some remote places not expected until Friday. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

***SPONSORED LINK: Check out the Squeaky Clean Energy Podcast by NCSEA! Get a fresh take on North Carolina’s clean energy landscape with biweekly episodes. Available wherever you get your podcast or at: www.energync.org/podcast.***

OIL & GAS:
• The Southeast has become a frontline in an industry push to ban localities from limiting new natural gas hookups, with Louisiana and Tennessee adopting such laws while Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas are considering them. (NPR)
• The head of an Oklahoma-based pipeline company says he’s “bullish” on natural gas despite a challenging 2020. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• West Virginia lawmakers advance a bill to loosen environmental regulations on gas and oil tanks near waterways. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL:
• Dominion Energy says it will close two coal-fired power plants and convert a third to natural gas in South Carolina by 2030, effectively transitioning from coal within the state but still relying heavily on natural gas. (Post and Courier)
• West Virginia legislators introduce several bills to expand benefits and access for miners with black lung and their families. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• An environmental group rallies for public support to push Alabama Power to remove a coal ash pit near the Mobile River. (WKRG)

OVERSIGHT: Mississippi regulators order Mississippi Power to close up to 950 MW of uneconomic coal and natural gas plants by 2027. (Energy & Policy Institute)

SOLAR: Critics of a Dominion Energy plan to raise net metering fees in South Carolina argue that the increased tariffs will discourage homeowners from investing in solar and effectively push the industry out of state. (WLTX)

RENEWABLES:
• Duke Energy begins a South Carolina program that lets large customers choose and negotiate directly with renewable energy suppliers. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Dominion Energy accelerates its investment in wind and solar but remains reliant on natural gas, especially in fast-growing parts of its territory. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

WIND: Dominion Energy’s planned wind farm off Virginia’s coast is one of a series of projects poised to make the offshore wind industry a commercial reality in coming years. (Yale Environment 360)

PROTEST: Arkansas is one of four states considering harsher penalties on people protesting pipelines and other fossil fuel projects; Kentucky, West Virginia and a dozen other states have already adopted them. (HuffPost)

COMMENTARY:
• Texas leaders set the state up for last week’s disastrous power outages because they have based infrastructure policy on price considerations over winterization and safety concerns, writes a state columnist. (Texas Tribune)
More attention to energy efficiency could have lessened the severity of the Texas power outages and should be implemented in future grid improvements, writes a professor focused on the intersection of climate and poverty. (Houston Chronicle)

Mason Adams

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.