SOLAR: A Shenandoah Valley entrepreneur wins support to create a guide based on his solar “barn raising” model for 15 Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Virginia. (Energy News Network)

• A project that could be the biggest utility-scale coal to solar farm in the country takes shape in an eastern Kentucky county desperately seeking new sources of jobs and local revenue. (New York Times)
• Coal-producing communities in southwest Virginia increasingly look to install solar projects on former surface mines to generate much-needed local tax revenue. (Reuters)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority fights a new solar cooperative in West Tennessee over its plans to supplement TVA’s electricity with power from a solar farm and battery storage hub. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Associated Press)
• A South Carolina solar farm seeks incentives as it considers investing $46 million in new equipment and panels. (Times and Democrat)

• West Virginia regulators approve a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross waterways, removing one of the remaining obstacles to the long-delayed project. (Charleston Gazette-Mail, subscription; Associated Press)
• Environmental groups sue in federal court to challenge a Virginia board’s vote to allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross streams and wetlands. (Roanoke Times)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: A largely Black community in Florida has twice stopped proposals to build large solar farms, but now finds itself stymied by a new state law that limits local control of energy projects. (Inside Climate News)

• Mississippi regulators consider whether Entergy should remain part of its regional transmission organization. (Delta Democrat-Times)
• Texas adds 36 more deaths to the official toll from February’s winter storm, bringing the total to 246. (Texas Tribune)
• Winter weather knocks out power to thousands of Oklahomans over the New Year’s holiday. (Oklahoman)

• Mon Power seeks approval from West Virginia regulators to complete upgrades required to meet federal wastewater standards that would allow two coal-fired power plants to continue operating beyond 2028. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
• In 2021, utilities operating in West Virginia downplayed their commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions as state regulators moved to prop up the coal industry. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Southeastern states chip away at Detroit’s longtime grip on auto manufacturing by winning factory announcements from electric vehicle manufacturers. (WABE)
• Ford’s planned electric vehicles and battery megasite in Tennessee sits atop a “recharge zone” for the Memphis Sands aquifer, where rainwater can quickly infiltrate and replenish a drinking water source more than a million people rely on. (Tennessee Lookout)
• Georgia residents near the site of a planned Rivian electric vehicle factory express concerns about transparency and the plant’s effects on their neighborhood, but are told “that ship has sailed.” (Covington News)
• A Texas brewery adds an electric vehicle charging station. (KLTV)

BIOMASS: Wood grown in the southeastern U.S. is a major contributor to the biomass industry that accounts for half of Europe’s renewable energy sources, but negatively affects air quality, traffic and water in communities where it is produced. (Slate)

UTILITIES: Florida Power & Light completes its assimilation of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Power customers in northwest Florida after it purchased the company in 2019. (news release, Florida Politics)


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.