GRID: Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from a complete grid collapse that could have left people without power for months, officials say. (Texas Tribune)

ALSO:
• Although power has been restored for most, millions of people across Texas and the Southeast now face related challenges around frozen pipes and disrupted water supplies. (Austin American-Statesman, New York Times)
• Energy workers continue to clear downed trees and restore power in central Virginia communities hit by a pair of ice storms this week. (WTVR)
Utility customers will likely pay for the fuel price spikes and future grid improvements in the wake of this week’s ice storms, experts predict. (Reuters)

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EQUITY: Hispanic and Black neighborhoods in Texas, already stressed by the pandemic, are now being disportionately affected by winter weather and power outages because they are more likely to have older homes with more vulnerable infrastructure and less access to food options. (Texas Tribune)

OVERSIGHT:
• The U.S. Senate energy committee will hold a hearing on electric grid reliability sparked by this week’s mass outages across the Southeast. (The Hill)
• Federal regulators end a long-running proceeding on grid resilience that stemmed from a failed 2018 proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants that stored fuel on site, signaling a shift to focus on mandatory winterization instead. (S&P Global)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Owners of electric cars in Texas tell how they used their vehicles for warmth and electricity during widespread outages this week. (Vice) 

WIND: German power supplier RWE says ice storms halted much of its Texas fleet of wind turbines, pushing it to buy pricey electricity and dealing a blow to its annual earnings. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• The deep influence of the oil and gas industry — which has given $26 million to the campaigns of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — looms large over the state government’s response to this week’s electric outage. (Associated Press)
• A Texas regulator concludes that Abbott’s order to retain all oil and gas produced in the state until Sunday appears to be unenforceable. (Reuters)
• Despite the governor’s order to keep oil and gas in state, Texas gas exports to Mexico begin to rebound from this week’s lows. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• Goldman Sachs projects the freeze on Texas oil production this week will have only small, temporary effects on the global oil market. (Reuters)

EMISSIONS: NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing announces that it has achieved carbon neutrality, which it will celebrate Sunday with a paint scheme for Ryan Newman’s car. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Eastern Tennessee gas customers see an unexpected 82% rate increase from the company that operates transmission lines, but local gas providers say they’re negotiating a lower rate ahead of a hearing by federal regulators. (Kingsport Times News)

COMMENTARY:
• The near-collapse of Texas’ power grid may have damaged the state’s reputation, and public attention to its response will determine whether its problems get resolved or merely papered over, a columnist writes. (Texas Tribune)
• This week’s events have punctured the myth that Texas can go it alone in electricity generation and regulation, writes a professor. (Houston Chronicle)
• A proposed rate increase by Kentucky Power includes disincentives for solar power and energy efficiency, a community advocate writes. (Energy News Network)
• The leader of a Kentucky group focused on energy transition hails President Joe Biden’s executive order that commits to supporting coalfield communities as the country tilts toward clean energy. (Daily Yonder)
• A Louisiana editorial board compares this week’s storms and outages to a “cold weather Katrina,” arguing that the event demonstrates the need for national leadership and an energy policy that supports both climate-friendly renewables and fossil fuels. (The Advocate)

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.