GRID: Hearings in both chambers of the Texas state legislature spotlight failures by grid planners, electric utilities, natural gas suppliers, renewable energy and transmission operators in last week’s power outages. (Reuters) 

ALSO:
• Rolling blackouts affected power plants that could have been used to generate more electricity, according to one CEO who testified. (Associated Press)
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized the state’s grid operator and called for lawmakers to mandate upgrades to winterize generators and power plants. (Texas Tribune)
• In the days before the storm, Abbott followed the advice of Fox News host Sean Hannity and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in consulting with an outside meteorologist known for his skepticism of climate change. (E&E News, subscription)
• The failure of the Texas power grid during a cold snap could end its status as a standalone entity and lead to connections with regional grids, says an expert on energy market structures. (Scientific American)

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UTILITIES: The effects of last week’s freeze on energy production are still being sorted, leading to uncertainty for Oklahomans and others waiting to see how it will affect their utility bills. (The Oklahoman)

PIPELINES: North Carolina regulators cite the Colonial Pipeline for omitting information about a 2020 spill that released at least 1 million gallons of gasoline in a nature preserve near a neighborhood. (N.C. Policy Watch)

OUTAGES: Appalachian Power says it will divert additional crews to parts of West Virginia where 6,300 customers were still without power after mid-February ice storms. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

OIL & GAS:
• Natural gas production dropped nearly 45% in Texas in mid-February amid a cold snap that froze gathering lines and wellheads. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
• Federal prosecutors indict a Louisiana man for allegedly using his post at the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to steer 50 contracts worth $15 million to a business in which he had a financial interest. (Associated Press)
• A bill to loosen restrictions on oil and gas waste tanks near drinking water sources will get additional scrutiny from West Virginia lawmakers. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Mississippi lawmakers advance a bill to pay $30 million in tax credits for companies to build charging stations across the state, which currently has among the fewest in the country. (Daily Journal)

SOLAR:
• A southwestern Virginia group seeks partners for a program to install residential solar systems for homeowners in the coalfield region. (Kingsport Times News)
• Gulf Power begins construction on two 74.5 MW solar farms and a 409 MW battery center in Florida. (PV Magazine)

CLIMATE: A series of severe storms has changed North Carolina’s perception of climate change, but that shift is still playing out among policymakers in the state legislature. (Coastal Review Online) 

COMMENTARY:
• The failure of the Texas electric grid is already becoming a landmark event that will shape future energy policy as the nation increasingly relies on electricity in pursuit of a carbon-neutral future, writes an energy market specialist. (POWER)
• A Texas columnist unpacks the first day of hearings in the Texas state legislature on the widespread grid failure that’s been dubbed “Wintergate.” (Austin American-Statesman)
• As significant users of North Carolina’s power supply, cities, towns and counties play a key role in the state’s clean-energy transition, writes a sustainability expert. (Energy News Network)

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.