Southeast Energy News will not publish Friday, July 2 or Monday, July 5 for the Independence Day holiday. We’ll be back on Tuesday.

COAL: The Tennessee Valley Authority launches a multi-year process to retire a Tennessee coal plant that spilled more than billion gallons of coal ash in 2008. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

• Kentucky’s Republican attorney general recommends state regulators reject American Electric Power’s request for improvements to a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia and push instead to close it. (Ohio Valley ReSource)
• Conservation groups prepare to sue West Virginia regulators over water pollution at a forfeited coal mine site. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

TRANSITION: Houston leaders want to rebrand the city as “the world’s energy transition laboratory” to attract companies and more than half a million new jobs. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

• A Virginia NAACP branch objects to a hearing on a proposed compressor station for the Mountain Valley Pipeline that will be held 150 miles from the proposed site. (Chatham Star-Tribune)
• Three people are arrested after locking themselves to a car blocking access to a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site for more than 10 hours. (Roanoke Times, WDBJ)

• San Antonio’s municipal utility calls on Texas leaders to interconnect the state’s standalone grid with other parts of the U.S. to strengthen its reliability. (San Antonio Business Journal)
• Kentucky Power proposes a large rebuild and upgrade for transmission lines and substations. (WOWK)

• North Carolina regulators will take a harder look at Duke Energy’s long-term planning documents, including how much to lean on natural gas and nuclear power generation instead of coal, after South Carolina regulators rejected the utility’s plans. (WRAL)
• South Carolina’s Senate votes unanimously to appoint a Republican former lawmaker and U.S. attorney to lead state-owned utility Santee Cooper. (E&E News, subscription)

• The world’s largest producer of lithium for electric vehicle batteries launches a North Carolina lab to develop lithium products two to three times faster than before. (Bloomberg)
• An Australian company will purchase and retrofit a Tennessee factory to supply materials, equipment and service for the lithium-ion battery industry. (The Driven)

• An oil and gas company partners with U.S. Steel to explore the viability of converting natural gas in Appalachia to hydrogen as a low-carbon alternative. (S&P Global)
• Virginia’s Dominion Energy is among more than two dozen energy companies exploring how hydrogen might make use of existing natural gas infrastructure. (Reuters)

CLIMATE: The U.S. Energy Department cites Texas as one of many U.S. regions where soaring use of air conditioning in response to heat waves will result in greater risk of power shortages this summer. (Houston Chronicle)

SOLAR: Duke Energy negotiates with a landowner to lease 720 acres outside a Florida city for a solar farm. (Alachua County Today)

TRANSPORTATION: U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia announces legislation to use highway rights of way for solar energy generation, electric vehicle charging stations and transmission. (WRBL)

• An editorial board decries the Texas Attorney General’s decision to exempt the state’s grid operator from transparency requirements. (Houston Chronicle)
• Carbon-capture technology is equivalent to trying to bail out an overflowing bathtub instead of turning off the faucet by stopping the burning of fossil fuels, writes an energy activist. (Houston Chronicle)

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.