CORRECTION: An item in yesterday’s digest misidentified GM’s updated electric car. It is the Bolt, not the Volt.

GRID: At least two people are dead and millions are still without electricity as extreme cold across the central U.S. continues to disrupt energy production; FERC member Neil Chatterjee says he “cannot recall an extreme weather event that impacted such a large swath of the nation in this manner.” (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• In what one researcher calls an “unprecedented, black swan event,” the cost of wholesale electricity in Texas spiked more than 10,000% Monday as cold temperatures forced generating units offline; the state’s grid operator says 20 GW of thermal power plants and 14.5 GW of wind generation were disrupted. (S&P Global, Reuters; E&E News, subscription)
The Southwest Power Pool institutes rolling power outages across 14 states to help safeguard grid reliability. (New York Times)
• More than 300,000 customers of Oregon’s two largest utilities are without electricity following last weekend’s extreme winter storms, in what is believed to be the largest outage in state history. (The Oregonian)

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OIL & GAS:
• Oil prices reach their highest level since the pandemic began as a result of international events that include the weather-related shutdown of Texas oil wells. (Reuters)
• The cleanup begins for a closed 150-year-old refinery site in Philadelphia that will take a decade and, at this scale, has no precedent. (Reuters) 

PIPELINES: Line 3 opponents have ramped up efforts to stop the project in recent months with encampments set up across northern Minnesota. (InsideClimate News)

CLEAN ENERGY: “It’s a steep hill to climb and we can get there”: An industry collaboration maps out a plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. (Forbes)

WIND: An organization of shoreline residents in New Jersey says a wind farm off Atlantic City should be moved to 35 miles offshore instead of the planned 15. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

TRANSITION: The Biden administration’s framing of transitioning fossil fuel workers to “better jobs” is not resonating with people who feel their careers are being treated dismissively. (Bloomberg)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: The Indiana NAACP opposes a proposed state Senate resolution calling for a carbon tax and dividend, saying it would further fossil fuel pollution in disadvantaged communities. (Indiana Public Radio)

POLITICS: A climate justice activist and supporter of the Green New Deal who became the unlikely state senator of a deep red district in rural Maine says face-to-face conversations with voters helped overcome political division. (The Nation)

COMMENTARY:
• Two former state regulators highlight a new study showing decentralized generation provides the most cost-effective way to decarbonize the grid. (Greentech Media)
• Frozen wind turbines and natural gas shortages for power plants in Texas demonstrate the need for a resilient grid and diverse fuel sources, an editorial board writes. (Dallas Morning News)
• The power outages in Texas and across the U.S. are a result of economists’ risk analysis and an anomalous weather event, and not a reliance on wind and other renewables, argues a clean energy advocate. (CleanTechnica)

Ken Paulman

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.