UTILITIES: Virginia lawmakers advance a bill that would allow clean energy firms to compete with utilities to sell renewable energy plans to customers, but it still faces a difficult road to passage. (Energy News Network, Virginia Mercury)

ALSO: Local Tennessee power companies explore a break with Tennessee Valley Authority, but the utility won’t open its transmission lines to let them access other power sources. (Chattanooga Times Free Press) 

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PIPELINES: A Memphis-area county commission delays a vote on whether to sell two properties for a crude oil pipeline to Mississippi after heated opposition from local residents. (WHBQ)

SOLAR:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority added 964 MW of solar and 130 MW of battery storage in 2020, and plans to double its solar usage by 2040. (WATE)
• A nonprofit group announces the formation of cost-sharing solar cooperatives in Florida’s Tampa and St. Petersburg metro areas. (news release)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A new report credits Florida policies for creating a successful market for electric vehicles, with roughly 60,000 already on state roads and that number projected to double within a decade. (WUFT)
• Florida lawmakers file bills to impose a new tax on electric vehicle sales, with proceeds going to build charging stations and fill the gap left by declining gas tax revenues. (WJCT)

OIL & GAS:
• Elected officials in Texas have slammed President Joe Biden for his climate orders, but experts say the state will benefit — not just from growth in its clean energy sector but also in comparison to other oil- and gas-heavy states. (Texas Tribune)
• “Very little Christmas and no birthdays this last year”: Texas oil workers reflect on an industry stricken by the COVID-19 pandemic, flat prices and an uncertain future. (KOSA)

COAL: Ohio geologists explore the possibility of using flooded, abandoned coal mines for geothermal energy projects. (Energy News Network)

GRID: Residents of a Tennessee neighborhood express concern about a nearby transmission line under construction by the Tennessee Valley Authority. (WRCB)

POLITICS:
• West Virginia’s energy and environmental lobbies prepare for the 60-day legislative session with newly elected Republican supermajorities in both chambers. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Georgia lawmakers debate a bill that would prohibit local governments from writing restrictions on energy sources into their building codes; a vote is expected later this week. (The Brunswick News) 

COMMENTARY:
• The director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network calls out an automotive manufacturing trade group for its resistance to legislation to establish a clean cars standard in Virginia. (Energy News Network)
• An Ohio Valley climate activist responds to negative comments by West Virginia’s congressional delegation about the president’s climate orders by deconstructing their likely minimal effects on state fossil fuel jobs. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

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.