GRID: Texas lawmakers express anger over a regulatory loophole that lets gas producers avoid winterizing facilities by paying a small fee to opt out of receiving emergency power. (Houston Chronicle)

ALSO: The daughter of a Texas man who died from hypothermia during February’s winter storm sues the state’s grid manager and an electric company. (Waco Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Ford’s choice of Tennessee and Kentucky for its high-stakes bet on the future of electric vehicles stands at odds with the states’ Republican leaders who have vilified the push for green energy. (Associated Press)
• Ford’s $5.6 billion electric truck and battery plant planned for Memphis, Tennessee, will be a union shop with the United Auto Workers. (Tennessee Lookout)
• A developer of lithium hydroxide for the electric vehicle supply chain praises new quarry and mining ordinances recently passed by a North Carolina county. (news release)

SOLAR:
• A Virginia conservationist with the Nature Conservancy develops partnerships to put solar farms on spent coal mines in central Appalachia. (Energy News Network)
• Kentucky regulators establish new rates for net-metering customers that are less than the one-to-one retail rate that Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities paid before, but more than the utility wanted to pay. (WFPL)
• A North Carolina planning board votes against a solar farm that met fierce and organized pushback from neighboring residents, particularly those who live and fly at a private airpark. (Salisbury Post)

OIL & GAS: BP flows its first oil and gas from two new deepwater wells at a phased project in the Gulf of Mexico that will eventually expand to eight wells. (S&P Global) 

PIPELINES: Supporters and opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline weigh in before a Virginia board decides whether to award stream-crossing permits necessary for completion of the long-delayed, over-budget project. (Virginia Mercury, Roanoke Times)

STORAGE: A Virginia-based joint venture of Siemens and power-plant developer AES Corp. that was an early entrant into the business of providing battery storage to utilities files for an initial public offering. (Bloomberg)

BIOMASS: Virginia officials tour a biomass plant that uses wood waste from commercial logging operations to generate electricity. (Gazette-Virginian)

TRANSITION: The Appalachian Regional Commission awards $1 million to a nonprofit watershed restoration group to launch a network of non-motorized trails for bikes and boats in West Virginia communities affected by coal’s downturn. (Inter-Mountain) 

COMMENTARY:
• The Mountain Valley Pipeline has abused eminent domain to push unneeded fossil fuels, and now is trying to silence anonymous activists who have fought the pipeline on social media and on the ground, writes a Virginia lawyer. (Roanoke Times)
More than 100 Kentucky faith leaders have signed a letter to Congress calling for a carbon tax to fund a budget reconciliation package and phase out carbon emissions, writes a climate activist. (Northern Kentucky Tribune)

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.