GRID: Texas’ grid operator fires its top executive and bars a second electric provider from operating on the grid as fallout from last month’s storm-driven outages and price spikes continues. (Associated Press, Reuters)

ALSO: A U.S. House committee launches an investigation of Texas’ power grid operator and seeks documents related to its preparation ahead of last month’s winter storm. (Associated Press)

***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:***

• General Motors plans to build a second battery factory and is eyeing Tennessee as a probable location as it ramps up its investment in electric vehicles. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)
• The federal transportation department will review an international trade ruling in a dispute between Korean battery makers for its effects on domestic electric vehicle production. (Reuters)

• Duke Energy begins the process for renewing its operating license on a South Carolina nuclear plant for another 20 years, while a nearby hybrid coal plant is set to close by the end of March. (Star News Online)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority begins upgrading an equipment upgrade at its oldest and biggest nuclear power plant. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

• State regulators greenlight Oklahoma Natural Gas’s plans to defer an estimated $1.5 billion in costs from last month’s storms, which were five times more than the company’s total gas supply costs for the 2019 calendar year. (The Frontier)
• A federal judge fines Exxon Mobil $14.25 million for air pollution violations at a Houston-area refinery and petrochemical complex, in what lawyers claim is the largest penalty ever imposed in a Clean Air Act citizen suit. (E&E News, subscription)
• Exxon’s natural gas business sues the second largest U.S. gas marketer over missed deliveries during last month’s winter freeze and power outages. (Reuters)

• A West Virginia congressman counters climate legislation introduced by Democrats by reintroducing a Republican-sponsored plan with less ambitious goals and funding for carbon-capture technology that might extend the life of fossil fuel generation. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A Texas congressman balks at the new energy secretary’s goal of attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, saying it would compromise the state’s oil industry. (WRIC)

WIND: A new report says North Carolina’s central location on the East Coast could make it a major player in the offshore wind industry as a destination and supply and services hub, but the state needs to make policy and regulatory changes if it wants to take advantage. (WFAE)

COAL ASH: Georgia lawmakers advance legislation requiring utilities to monitor coal ash ponds for the next 50 years, while declining to move a bill requiring ash to be stored in lined landfills. (Patch)

UTILITIES: A Texas city approves a program allowing local utility customers to pay a fee to receive 100% renewable energy. (San Marcos Daily Record)

• The power and water crisis engulfing Texas and Mississippi shows how deregulation, partisan divides and systemic racism disproportionately put Black neighborhoods at risk from infrastructure failures, writes a Texas professor. (CNN)
• A wide-ranging review of energy efficiency policies gives Florida regulators a chance to significantly lower the state’s high electricity rates, writes the president of an air-conditioning installation company. (Herald Tribune)

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.